What Does It Take To Be A Good Educator? - Does it takes more than knowledge.
Greetings. So we meet again. Before I start tonight's topic, I am seeking your opinion. At present, I write a diversified blog. Meaning I discuss various and mostly requested topics. Do you prefer to read a blog based on different topics or a continuing blog on one focused topic? Please leave a comment. Your comments are appreciated.
I am blessed to have many subscribers and many people who send me emails, and I answer each one personally. Should you ever have a question or blog post topic request, you can select the CONTACT button from the main menu at the top or email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. On to tonight's topic. Educators are also called Teachers, Professors, Doctors, if they have a Ph.D., and other various names and titles. Additionally, some I prefer not to mention here.
It is assumed that an educator has some degree of formal education. But is it safe to say that knowledge is a given? Well ... maybe not so much. Not all educators are required to have a college degree, and some forms of teaching are not government-regulated. Therefore, we cannot assume an educator possesses knowledge or certifications.
Educators are people that teach and inform others. The majority of what they do is pass the information they know to others. That may have been the role of an educator many decades ago. However, that role has changed tremendously. Educators are now mentors, role models, counselors, and in many cases, almost take on the role as a part-time parent. In addition, they need to watch for social and emotional development problems along with a host of many other things. Compassion, understanding, and empathy are vital qualities a good educator should have. The various roles change with the age of the students, the individual students, the situation, and the type of education that is being provided. A good educator must understand that each student is an individual. They all have different ways of learning, various degrees of skills, and varying degrees of understanding.
For example, a public speaker is a form of an educator. However, many of the things I mentioned do not apply to that role. A public speaker, a keynote speaker, or someone brought in for a lecture topic has a different goal. It's a one-stop-shop and opportunity to get your message across. Therefore, a public speaker MUST be well versed in how NOT to talk over the heads of the audience and present their information so that everyone can understand the topic that is being offered.
We hear about teachers and teacher unions almost daily on the news since the pandemic. But unfortunately, many also judge teachers as "The Villain" in today's educational system. Why? Because they are concerned for their health and their family members? Do these concerns make them bad educators?
Of course, this is something for you to decide for yourself. However, I do not believe this reason qualifies them as bad educators. I consistently hear or read articles where it is said that teachers do not care about their students. As a 30+ year educator, I do not believe that statement to be true. I prefer to use the term "Not Dedicated" rather than "Bad" teachers. Yes. I think some educators are not dedicated to their profession.
Certain professions require a different degree of dedication to their work. Disciplines such as teachers, doctors, nurses, others in the medical field, firefighters, EMS responders, police officers, POLITICIANS, and other professions, require additional training. The individuals in these positions are usually held to a higher standard. There are certainly more. These professions deal directly with and directly impact people and their lives. All jobs come with some degree of responsibility. However, I believe we can all agree that some jobs have a higher degree of accountability than others.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD EDUCATOR?
To be a good educator requires more than knowledge about the topic they are teaching. Knowledge of what you are teaching, although necessary, is only the essential requirement. How many of you have heard this saying;
When one or two students are struggling, it's probably the students. When the whole class is struggling, it's probably the teacher.
That statement is true. To be a good educator requires other traits—dedication, desire, a passion for what you do, caring about others, and more. A good educator cannot get flustered, lose their temper, lose their patience, and can NEVER be biased or show favoritism. Teaching styles vary from educator to educator. Why can some public speakers captivate their audience and others lose them in the first two minutes? An educator has to be funny, serious, can explain things in a manner that everyone will understand. An educator MUST also understand that there are many different types of learners. Some people learn via hands-on experience. Others are great book learners, and others are visual learners. A good educator will tailor their methods to reach all types of learners.
The single biggest mistake most educators make is trying to muddle through answering a question when they do not know the proper answer. People, even children, will know you are wading through a pile of uncertainty, and you are probably NOT providing the appropriate response.
There is no shame in not knowing the answer to a question. However, the proper way to handle this is honesty. State you will have to research the proper answer and get back to the class. DO JUST THAT.
That is how you will achieve credibility. No one knows the answer to every question, and there is no shame in admitting that you do not. Students who ask questions prefer the correct answer. As an educator, you are not doing your role any justice by faking it.
Also, it is essential to see when one or more students are struggling and need extra help. With that said, we all know this saying is true. "You can take the horse to water, but you can't make it drink."
A good educator will exhaust all avenues to help their students learn. However, like the horse you can't make drink, you can't make someone study. If you think parent-teachers meetings are easy, you are sadly mistaken. Most parents do NOT want to hear about their child's problems, because let's face it. In a parent's mind, their child is perfect. Therefore, how a problem is presented to a parent is a work of art in itself. As students get older and continue to college, the general educator attitude is, 'you are paying to be here. If you don't want to study, that is your choice.' The educator takes a different role. I'm not saying I agree with that, nor am I saying every college professor has the same attitude. However, many do. They believe the students have reached an age where they need to take responsibility for their education. There is some merit because learning responsibility is also part of the educational process.
DOES AN EDUCATOR LEARN ALL OF THIS IN SCHOOL?
Haaaa .... now that was funny. Most of the essential teaching skills are learned, providing the educator's job requires a teaching certification. However, I will say this. Even with student teaching time, it takes time and dedication before educators develop their specific teaching style, experience, and flow. Yes, flow. How they present the information, so it is understandable and flows. I remembered when I first started teaching, and for that matter, my first public appearance as a public speaker, just getting through the part of being nervous, was the most challenging part. As with all things, the more time we spend doing something, the better we get at it. You learn very quickly as an educator that you can never assume that just because you know what you are teaching, it means everyone will know it as well. Therefore, NOT talking above your students or audience level is paramount because it is very easy to do. This is where the educator's desire, dedication, and personal excellence factor comes into play.
Students can sense whether an educator cares or does not care about how the information is presented. Or if their audience learns anything. With today's technology, an educator has many tools at their disposal to get their point across to all types of learners. The days of standing in front of a classroom or public speaking and just reading off a PowerPoint are gone. Yet, many still do. The purpose of a PowerPoint presentation from its origin was intended to be a guide that people can take notes from and a guide from which the instructor can embellish off to teach the topic at hand. I used to find it quite insulting when I went to a lecture or saw someone speak, and they just stood there and read directly off a screen. Why do that? Did they think I couldn't read?
Many factors make someone a good or a not-so-good educator. Whenever anyone thinks it is easy, maybe there was a time when you had to make a toast at a wedding or family affair. When you stood up to hold up your glass, your mouth got dry, and you were suddenly at a loss for words. All of that is normal. It takes time to become an effective educator. An educator that can help people to learn. I mentioned many professions earlier in this post. All of these require passion—a passion for giving to others properly, effectively, and efficiently.
After any amount of time goes by, a job becomes a job. However, my father used to say when you stop doing your job the way you are supposed to, it's time to move on to something else because now you have lost the other critical component. DESIRE.
Stay safe and be well,
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