By Sry Gernini
A teacher is often likened to a gardener. It is quite similar, of course. A gardener grows plants and flowers by doing many works: sowing, growing, watering and protecting insects and so on till the time when they are enough to be in use. Thus a gardener builds a garden full of colourful plants, flowers and trees, which make an environment beautiful. And a gardener is a leader of a garden. Similarly, a teacher has to teach students, sometimes blaming and sometimes praising them. Sometimes he has to be tolerant and sometimes ignorant. In this way he educates the students. Therefore he is one who bears the educated and also makes the world beautiful. Really, he deserves the title of ‘leader’ of students. He can also steer the life-boats of his students straightly to a good destination. In my life, I met three teachers who impalpably gave me a strong inner impetus to do my best in the field of education. It would be impossible even to earn this low academic standard that I have now if I was not their pupil. Of course, a good teacher has skills, abilities and techniques that even they themselves do not perceive, to raise their brainy students as the successful in life. They may possess different skills, abilities and techniques because they have different mind and belong to different areas of subjects. In this short article I would like to discuss the general qualities possessed by good teachers from my perspective stemming from my experiences, regardless of explanation of teacher qualities proposed by world scholars. It is more true to say that this article is about my sincere feeling of what kind of person a good teacher is. Below are the qualities drawn by mere reflection of my teachers’ attributes and life style.
This quality is very fundamental to be a good teacher. One with this quality tends to succeed in a teacher life. In every job, hobby is an essential requirement to be satisfied and successful in one’s job. Without hobby and satisfaction, it will be difficult for a person to even remain existent. A teacher with no hobby will exert no proper effort in teacher job. He will do teaching only as an inevitable duty. Reversely, a teacher whose hobby is teaching job is just pleased with teaching, irrespective of his tiredness, gains and pains.
Honesty is a treasure that is highly required everywhere on earth. Without it one cannot have even one’s identity in the human society. Manners of a dishonest teacher disgrace the dishonest teacher himself. It suffices to be shameful for a teacher to pretend without knowing and being skillful in something. Oppositely, a good teacher can be found possessing such lovely quality. He is honest enough to express his profound feelings and knowledge in front of his students as opposed to keeping secret something more valuable and important. He gives his students all he has learned and known as much as possible.
Reading habit is an innate nature of a good teacher. My good teachers would be seen reading a book almost all the time in a day unless they have other tasks. It is admitted that before starting reading, they could not enjoy reading. After knowing what reading gives, they cannot help reading. Gradually, they become book-worms. The great knowledge gained from books helps them to be successful teachers in teaching. They seem to have lots of remarkable words to choose and many surprising examples or similes to extract out of their heart until comprehension of the lesson comes to students. Such words and examples or similes are sufficient to hearten the students and attract their great attentions. Some teachers believe that reading other books apart from the specialized subject is unnecessary. It is unwise for them to say so because the terms within the specialized field are too narrow to explain with and cannot clarify some lessons.
Inspiration of students
A good teacher inspires students. As said above, a good teacher is honest and therefore he is not such a jealous man to his students. Instead he has a strong preference or belief that “A student must excel his teacher”. Due to this noble belief he inspires his students to work harder than ever. The smarter his students are than him, the happier, the more pleased and the more proud of he is. His words used while teaching have energy to make his students active. Not only his words but also his manners touch his students’ lethargic hearts so that they come to have energy and eagerness to do something, especially education persistently.
Possessing creative idea
Most successful teachers are found endowed with creative idea. I believe that the creative idea can be either inborn one or result obtained through reading habit. The inborn creative idea can be called as talent, which the ordinary teachers cannot possess. The other is possible to be developed through reading and studying. With this idea they invent new, easy and acceptable ways or methods aiming at understanding by his students.
Neglecting gains, ranks and powers
The teacher endowed with the foresaid qualities neglects gains, ranks and powers. He does not care these so called unreal attributes. He is satisfied enough with what he has possessed. He lives with joy (pøti) earned from teaching and learning, highly speaking from literature concerned. So he can be named in Pæ¹i “Pøtibhakkha”, one who consumes joy. He is not materialist; he values good mentality more than material properties. Although penniless, he has many, which are not material but pupils (တစ္ျပားမ႐ွိ၊ တပည့္မ႐ွား).
The qualities mentioned are just out of my feeling and experiences got through reflection of the attributes of my respected teachers. This article is written with three reasons: for the people to have high awareness of The World Teachers’ Day, to notice necessarily and fundamentally required qualities of a teacher and to make a positive suggestion to those who assign teachers for teacher job in Myanmar.
Here I do not put the quality of education level on purpose with the view that a teacher-job applicant has already reached a specified level of education concerned. And another reason is that an applicant, if greatly interested in and devoted to teaching, will surely enhance his qualities in various ways. At the start of doing something, no one can be perfect and later on, he may become gradually qualified in his field to some extent. For these reasons, the quality of education level is left unmentioned here.
May the world students have good teachers.