Teaching profession is akin to the ‘live-bar’ counter. Whatever happens, happens in the moment. There are no re-takes.
Likewise, when a teacher conducts a session, children absorb the discourses through their eyes and ears. They remember and note the gestures, words, expressions and enthusiasm of the teacher.
While the teacher is delivering the lecture, imagine if she falters; how will she erase the intangible learning moments from the child’s memory? How will she ensure that the calm and composure is steady in these difficult times.
This is exactly why the teacher is always judgemental about her performance. She critically views her achievements and failures.
Achievements – For a teacher achievement can be in terms of her class performance, her ability to cater to SEN children, her classroom management skills, her professional performance, her inter-personal skills, and much more. But for a real teacher; sincere achievement is directly related to how well her class is learning.
It may sound hilarious, but her first test of achievement is when during the session, the class is expatiating and noisy. Children are discussing the topic thread-bare and raising queries, doubts. Since most progressive teachers, blend theoretical and hands-on learnings together, she can observe the in-depth understanding of the students during this time too. Giving this kind of experience to the students is also an achievement.
Another testimony of achievement is when through assessments, she knows that her children have understood the lesson and they can comprehend the context in 360°. She shares a distinct pride in displaying and sharing the work of her children on the classroom board.
Later, these achievements become success stories which are replicated in different sections of the grade. And sometimes are even repeated for the new batch.
Failure – This is a profound subject for teachers to write on the black board. Unfortunately, it is like a medicine which the teacher prescribes in moderation but fails to self-direct.
They fear failing in the class, due to any of the following reasons –
-Because they are the ‘know it all adult’ in the class
-Because are over-burdened
-Because they are answerable to their conscientious
-Because they can’t balance the different needs of students in the class
-Because they are being monitored by the school, parent groups, peers, etc
Reasons can be plenty, but as a community what are teachers doing to cope up with failures?
Large community of teachers doubt their abilities and start a downward spiral. Their morale dips and unfortunately this can be infectious. Teachers take less initiatives and shy away from responsibilities.
Most progressive schools, encourage their teachers to look at failures (not for repeat offenders) as a ‘learning opportunity’; unless of course, the well-being of the student isn’t at stake.
Teachers have to be a motivated group of professionals. Schools should look at tangible and intangible methods of letting the teachers know that teaching is a journey and not the destination. Success and failure are part of the journey. They should conduct regular motivational and self-assuring programs to encourage the teachers.