As teachers we have to stay on top of things — our subject, pedagogies, policies, work culture. We also have to understand and learn about our students, their mindsets, behaviour patterns. Every minute new knowledge is being generated, so no matter how much we try and catch up, there is always more to learn. How do teachers stay up-to-date?
Teaching is perhaps one of the most challenging professions there is. The demands on the teacher are many — keep up with new knowledge, create innovative pedagogies, engage the student, stay abreast of the policies in education, tune in to the students and their needs, handle orders from school and answer questions from parents. While we are expecting all of this and more and asking a teacher to give us superior results, are we taking care of a teacher’s needs and giving her an environment that will help her grow? Given that professional development is not systematic and organized in the country, how can a teacher keep up?
What better way for teachers to grow than to read and read continuously. However, with teachers racing against the clock to keep up with their daily work, reading doesn’t necessarily figure in their list of priorities. So how about starting a book club with colleagues and carving out some time to read regularly?
In order to give the best to her students, this teacher realized that she needs to grow continuously as well. Apart from reading relevant books, attending online courses, and co-teaching, this author keeps a journal of her daily experiences, which she learns from.
After an eight year sabbatical, this teacher started working again and her principal played a big role in helping her upgrade and learn new skills to teach.
As a newly trained teacher, this author believed that she had learnt all that there is about the profession. But as soon as she set foot into her first class, she realized that being a teacher is a lifelong learning journey.
More than 30 years into the profession, this teacher talks about her growth over every decade and shares the lessons she has learnt through these years that have helped her stay up-to-date.
How does a teacher make her classes interesting when her students are already armed with information? How does a teacher make space for a balanced approach in her highly opinionated students? How does a teacher address the diversities of a heterogeneous classroom? Teaching in the 21st century is very different from teaching during an earlier time. Children’s exposures and experiences are evolving and teachers are expected to match their step with these changing times.
Experimenting with new pedagogies, taking online courses, visiting art galleries is how this visual arts teacher keeps himself updated.
Whether teaching is an art or a craft will depend on the teacher. The craft of teaching can be learnt in teaching courses, but if both you and your students want to enjoy it, teaching has to transform into an art.