Monday, June 17, 2024 | Dhu al-hijjah 10, 1445 H
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Teach today’s children, trust today’s youth

Ray Petersen
Ray Petersen

Who would ever be a teacher? I often wonder, when I see the manner in which they are often taken for granted. Why even the great philosopher and statesman Mahatma Ghandi said, “Those who know how to think, need no teachers.” That acerbic poet, philosopher and raconteur Oscar Wilde wrote, “Everybody who is incapable of learning, has taken to teaching.” While playwright, critic and activist George Bernard Shaw famously said, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach!” So who would be bothered? It’s a cynical world out there, even a lazy world, and yet I have never met a teacher who thinks of themselves as a ‘child-minder,’ yet that’s how they are seen by many parents, who see school not as an opportunity for their ‘ankle-biters’ to learn, but as a way to get a “Phew!” a breather, one less to look after.

Of course, not all, but look me straight in the eye and tell me “It never happens!” I’m sure this young woman’s dad would be humbled by his daughter’s words……. “There are a lot of people who have influenced my personality and the moral values, yet I think that the person who has most profoundly influenced me is my father. He has always been strong, and strong-willed, trying to make me a better person. He has always emphasised the value of education, and he gave me the freedom to choose teaching. I have always known where to turn for advice, because he was always there for me, and thank God, still is.

“We stay with the family theme with our next teacher-in-waiting, who wrote…… “Since I was a little kid, I admired teachers. I love chalks, with all its colours, and I played the role of a teacher, where my toys were my students. What added to that joy was my sister, who was an English teacher. I kept on watching her secretly, and loved it with a kind of insanity. I started imitating her style, and played her role with my toys, and have I grown to love teaching for all it genuinely is, and now here I am in my last year of training to be a ‘real’ teacher.”

And one more budding teacher demonstrated her literary skills too…… “I’ll never forget that the person who influenced me is like the moon on a dark night. She has influenced me as a mother and a friend, as much as a teacher. Caring and trusting, she was honest and fair in dealing with her pupils, and made us feel safe, comfortable and loved. She understood her learners, their abilities and needs, and helped us to improve, and to be the best we can be. I want my students, to love me, as much as I love my teacher!” Perspective though, is everything in teaching, and here is a very different view….

“Through my short experience in the practical teaching course, I felt that my students were the most supportive element. First of all, they always want to learn. I don’t know if this is always true, but my students have now become extremely enthusiastic about learning. Sometimes, they would come to class pale, quiet and unhappy. I played games with them, and taught them to enjoy school. Now, their morning greetings, and afternoon farewells, are among my greatest joys!”

And there is always a pragmatic, practical, yet inspired perspective…… “Everyone in the life should know themselves and what they should do in life. From my own perspective, I am here to build new generation, to be a great example as a mother. I am a proud woman, and have won my battle to be who I am. As teachers, if we do not know who we are, we are as an empty vase, yet, as we develop our pupils, inside and outside the classroom, flowers appear in that vase, growing to bloom, like our pupils.”

So as with most things, the answer is in the young people around us. It’s simple really, teach them, trust them, and they will thank you with their achievements in the years ahead.

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