Teachers play an important role in a student’s life. They serve as role models and mentors to students. The role of a teacher in students’ lives has not changed much. Monday through Friday, students still go to school and spend a large amount of time interacting with their teachers. Teachers today, as in the past, continue to make a significant impact on students’ lives.
First, the role of a teacher has gone largely unchanged for at least the past 60 years. Maybe a few classroom procedures have been altered and textbooks have of course been updated, but in general school schedules and the basic classes offered have not drastically changed. If schooling systems had adopted a radically different approach to education, I would say that I teachers’ roles might be different. This has not happened, and therefore I think the amount of influence a teacher has on a student has not altered much.
Some might argue that technology has created a disconnection between teachers and students, but I think technology has only made the connection stronger. Technology has helped improve teachers’ lessons and enables teachers to reach out to students even more. Using technological tools like SmartBoards help make teachers’ lessons more effective, possibly making more students interested in school. Email is also something that helps teachers develop a stronger relationship with their students. If a student has a problem, they can easily communicate with their teachers. Technology has probably increased the influence of teachers.
Finally, the role of a teacher is to help guide his or her students. Teaching comes with many responsibilities, not just the responsibility of teaching lessons. Next to their parents, teachers probably play the largest role in influencing students’ future. I still remember my seventh grade history teacher. She is the one who inspired me to study history in college. Her lessons literally brought history to life. There may be some teachers who just stuff their students’ heads with boring facts, but there will always be those teachers who are able to inspire a deep thirst for knowledge in their students. These special teachers will always be around. They are a constant.
To say that teachers had greater influence on their students in the past is false. The general system of education has not changed drastically enough to change the role of the teacher significantly. In addition technology has probably helped teachers make a larger impact on their students. The call for a teacher to be a role model and mentor has also not changed. Teachers will always play an influential role in their students’ lives.
In recent history, one of the greatest advances of society has been the development of universal education. While education has become more important to society, I do not believe the social status of a teacher has advanced as much. I do not believe that people today respect teachers as much as they did in the past.
Many years before, scholars were basically celebrities and they were duly given credit for their contribution to society. Scholars from ancient times like Socrates and Confucius were not only famous for their theories and works, but they also established a permanent place in history by sharing and passing on their ideas to their students. In history, men of knowledge held a special
place in society and were honored by their students. Yes today there are still many leading scholars, but how many of these teachers are household names? I don't even think I can name the most recent Nobel Prize laureates.
T o examine the level of respect given to many teachers in the past, we must broaden the definition of what qualifies as a teacher. Previously many occupations in society were based on a strict guild system where people learned their occupation through a strict training system. First you began as an apprentice and then you would become a journeyman. After years of work perfecting your skill you would become a master. The master served as a teacher to the other apprentices and journeymen. A particular degree of respect was paid to the masters of each trade. Nowadays machines have replaced skilled laborers and the role of master teachers is obsolete. T o some extent technology has degraded the necessity and therefore the value of a teacher in society.
In today's society there is also an overarching stigma that degrades the general status of the teaching profession. Many people in society believe that those who cannot be successful in any other profession become teachers. If you love playing the piano but are not accomplished enough to become a concert pianist, then you become a piano teacher. T eaching is also seen as a mediocre career, because the average salary of a teacher is much lower than many other professions. This is not to say that there are not many intelligent and successful teachers. I know many teachers who gave up a better career because they found teaching to be much more rewarding of a career. However, this does not change the opinion of society as a whole towards the teaching profession.
When compared to the elite status many teachers held in history, there is no doubt that teachers today are not as respected as teachers in the past. In today's society, being a teacher is not considered the most successful or respected career.
I will base my argument on my own teaching experience. I would say patience apparently is very importan, but there are a lot of qualities of a good teacher much more important than patience. For me, being professonal is the most important quality.
For a teacher being professional requires two essential components: knowledge and pedagogy. A teacher with amazing amount of knowledge in his or her subject is always very convincing. Most students appreciate teachers to give a reasonable interpretation of the theories written in the textbooks which are really hard to read. Being knowledgeable means that a teacher is able to explain things with more convincing examples, and sometimes the ability to explain theories by using multiple fields of study is considered as a more important quality of a teacher.
This is not necessarily related to patience. One of my professors in college is very unique of his personality. When I asked questions to him, he always cut me off within the first thirty seconds, saying, “I know exactly what you say. And it’s quite too na?ve. You go back home and read, uh… these two books. Is that clear? I have to go.” He never bothered answering questions in person but always left me a chance to figure it out by myself. I have to say he is the most impatient person I have ever seen. But I also think just because of this, I started regarding teachers as a guide instead of a wheelchair. They point out the direction to us and let us go exploring independently.
Another aspect of being professional for a teacher is if the pedagogy a teacher employs is good or not. A good teacher may not communicate with students directly instead of which he would just give lectures with audiences all listening. A good pedagogy is, in my opinion, a teaching method that can change complicated issues to a clearer vision and friendly access. Some of my collegues, who mainly teach in my company, are experts in employing modern techonology in class. They usually have over four hundred students in the class at the same time. There is no way that they can answer each student’s question patiently. However, they manage the class more efficiently by writing teaching books that contain the answers to those most frequently asked quesiton and by using multimedia to clarify each point they make in class.
To be honest, teachers are not babysitters. They certainly are required to be patient. However, to say if a teacher is good always comes from the class performance with a crafty teaching skills and sufficient knowledge backing it, which, I think, is the utmost consideration of evaluating a teacher.