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GREAT TEACHERS ARE NOT BORN IN THE MINDS OF THE STUDENTS BUT THEY ARE BORN IN THE

HEARTS OF THE STUDENTS

PROF. M.S.RAO, ACADEMIC GUIDE, ICFAI UNIVERSITY, INDIA

ABSTRACT

The article highlights the sanctity attached and the challenges ahead to the
teaching profession. It addresses various types of teachers with their styles and
personalities. It combined various innovative tools and techniques with the
traditional to make teaching process interesting, informative, inspirational,
motivational, entertaining and educating for the students. The merits of choosing
this profession is highlighted with a view to attract the bright talent into this
field. Any one can become a great and successful teacher if equipped with
passion, involvement and dedication. Ultimately the author has evolved his own
style and method of teaching by titling as ‘Meka’s Method of Teaching’ with
clarion call to all teachers across the world to become great teachers in order to
live in the hearts of the students.

KEY WORDS:

Types of teachers, Characteristics of a good teacher, Tools and techniques for


teaching, Why should one choose teaching as a career? Great teachers, How to
become a successful teacher?, Meka’s method of teaching, and Author’s message.

“ A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for
others”. Author unknown.

All teachers can’t make impact in the minds of their students. But a very few
teachers touch the hearts of their students thereby becoming legends. There is no
specific formula or a secret mantra in this, except dedication, determination and
discipline in the methods of their teaching. Good teachers work with passion and
they are totally involved in their profession and they contribute their best
without expecting any rewards or returns from their students except with burning
desire to be great at their profession. Many people think that teaching is an
inborn quality to become a great teacher and it proved beyond doubt there are
teachers who were not blessed great but became great teachers by virtue of their
sincere efforts, abilities through practice, concentration and training. William
Arthur ward said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The
superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”. A teacher is like a
player of a musical instrument. He can produce either a sad music or a joyful
music by way of playing the instrument. A good subject can be taught in an
ineffective manner and a poor subject can be taught in an effective manner. And
everything depends totally on the presentation of the player (i.e.teacher).

Wikipedia defined teacher, “In education, teachers facilitate, student learning,


often in a school or academy. The objective typically a course of study, lesson
plan or a practical skill including learning and thinking skills". In China,
teacher is called as SHIFU, or SIFU, in UK, it is called as MENTOR and teacher is
also called as GURU in India and is also referred to as RABBI or TUTOR etc.,
TYPES OF TEACHERS:

Teachers can be classified in various types; such as good teacher versus bad
teacher, friendly teacher versus hostile teacher, jovial teacher versus strict
teacher, dominant teacher versus submissive teacher, serious teacher versus casual
teacher and so on.

According to R.Verdi, “Good teachers are those who know how little they know, bad
teachers are those who think they know more than they don't know”. The good
teachers never boost nor boast of themselves too much. However knowledgeable they
might be, they think and declare that whatever they know is only a drop of an
ocean. On the other hand, the bad teachers are poor performers who are not
knowledgeable and in order to cover up their weaknesses, they pretend to be strong
at subject. These kinds of teachers always blame their students for not
concentrating in the class. It is like a weak tradesman who always blames his
tools and never admits his weak workmanship.

A friendly teacher is always amenable, adjustable and empathizes with their


students and narrows down the gap between faculty and students thereby developing
relations. Such a teacher is always accessible to the students for clarifying
their doubts. On the other hand, a hostile teacher is inimical and his actions
towards their students are reactive rather than proactive. They display
unfriendly and irritating attitude when they hear from their students that other
teachers are teaching better than him. Hostile teachers don’t take criticism
constructively and positively in their stride.

The jovial teachers are replete with fun and humor. They entertain students with
lot of humorous jokes and anecdotes and they believe in imparting education in an
entertaining manner. They do not get provoked and take the comments from the
students jovially. While teaching, this kind of teachers believes in the carrot
but not stick policy. This kind of teachers behaves from ‘Child Ego State’.
(According Dr.Berne, there are three types of ego states – ‘Patent Ego State’,
‘Adult Ego State’ and Child Ego State’ i.e. PAC Ego States). On the other hand,
the strict teachers are, no doubt, good teachers but they believe in stick rather
than carrot in the method of teaching. They expect the class to be total silent
and they do not encourage their students to discuss on the topic among themselves.
This kind of teachers is highly knowledgeable and uncompromising. Mostly they
behave like Parent Ego State.

The dominant teachers are again a kind of strict teacher but the degree of
strictness is higher and hence can also be called dictatorial or autocratic
teachers. They hardly bother about the sentiments, views and opinions of their
students. On the contrary, the submissive teachers are those who always succumb
to the demands of their students and they do not know how to control their
students. Both these types are unwarranted and uncalled for and what is expected
is the average of these two traits which can be called assertive teachers who
strike a fine chord between dominant teachers and submissive teachers. An
assertive teacher behaves from all the three ego states i.e. Parent, Adult and
Child Ego States situational. “The best teachers teach from heart, not from the
book”, anonymous. An assertive teacher is the best teacher and an ideal teacher
who teaches from his heart.

The serious teachers are by nature serious in their approach and they teach
without adding any touch of humor but they are very efficient and effective and
believe in professional approach. The students learn the topics in a professional
manner. For this kind of teachers work is worship. They always mean business.
On the contrary, the casual teachers take everything lightly but not seriously and
may not be stuffed with adequate knowledge and believe in completing the syllabus
and passing their time. This kind of teachers’ work for the sake of working and
they never win the hearts of their students.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD TEACHER:

Lola May quoted, “There are three things to remember when teaching; know your
stuff, know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly”. Any one can
become a good teacher if equipped with certain qualities and characteristics.

A teacher wears many a hat such as, he should be an effective communicator,


leader, disciplinarian, mentor, guide, parent, friend, philosopher, motivator,
counselor, actor, a role model, well wisher, manager, fair and impartial etc.,
He should not take the things for granted.

Should concentrate on all students equally but rather more on the weak or dull
students who needs little more care and attention.

Should carry the entire students along with them as a team leader.

A teacher should be thorough and well versed with the subjective knowledge and
should add outside information along with the topics relevantly whenever
warranted.

Should have higher levels of energy and enthusiasm.

Should remember the names of all the students in the class.

Should always work with sincerity and integrity.

Should know how to present the topic based on common sense. If students are found
to be not tuned or going out of the track they should be criticized privately. On
the other hand, if any student does anything miracle must be praised publicly in
the class. Such acts serve as positive strokes and the rest of the students would
like to catch up it with such positive trend.

A great teacher teaches but also inspires, motivates and changes the mindsets of
their students and also the entire world. A great teacher always works with heart
and head, as both are essential for effective teaching. A great teacher never
demands but always commands respect from his students.

A great teacher is not only a teacher but also a great listener and learner. He
teaches what he knows to his students and learns from what the students’ know.
Egotism is not the quality of a great teacher. A good teacher concentrates more
on weak students rather on bright students as Mara Collins said, “The good teacher
makes the poor student good and good student superior”.

A great teacher always sees big picture. Whenever he finds that the topic is
tough he breaks down the topic into several small pieces and explains the small
pieces effectively and efficiently to the students and gradually assembles the
pieces into a one single entity mentally and explains. He should be a voracious
reader of various books, magazines, journals, browser of many educational web
sites and should be a good observer.

A great teacher is like a Gardner who plants seeds, waters and feels satisfied
when it starts blooming. He knows the psychology of his students, must be highly
creative, dreamer and must rise expectations and aspirations of his students. He
should never be reactive but should always be proactive. He lays stress not only
on education but also on ethical values and character building. He involves in
character building apart from subject building.

TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES FOR TEACHING:

“More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and
the spirit in which the teaching is given”, Bertrand Russell.

A good teacher should start the class with an inspirational or motivational


quotation written on the blackboard/whiteboard so as to break the class with
positive vibes.

A good teacher is always a good storyteller. He should start the topic with a
story and should gradually enter into the topic without the knowledge of the
students and at the end of the session, only students should know that the teacher
covered the relevant topics.

Students should feel that they entered into a theatre where they forget their real
world problems the moment they enter the classroom. All that depends on the
skills and abilities being displayed by the teacher.

A teacher may start the class with an interesting anecdote, or day- to-day report
or a newspaper report or something sensational and emotional everyday so as to
draw the attention of his students.

A teacher can also start delivering lecture by role playing, or by referring an


interesting case studies or by his own personal experience and with his industrial
insights so as to bring the students to the real life from the reel life.

He can also throw the topic for open discussion and get their views or opinions or
comments related to the topic. By this the teacher is able to unearth the hidden
talents lying the in the subconscious minds of his students. It is like
brainstorming or it encourages the students to think innovatively, imaginatively
and it ignites their minds. It is apt to quote Chinese proverb in this context,
“Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will
understand”.

A good teacher always explains the concepts and fundamentals in depth as it serves
as a strong infrastructure (foundation) over which they can build their
superstructure.

Body language of the teacher must always complement with his oral language as any
inconsistency between body language and oral language can create doubts in the
minds of the students. Body language contributes 93% of communication while the
oral language contributes 7% of the communication. The combination of both is the
complete communication. Although men can talk many things orally but his body
language always speaks his sincerity and integrity. The teacher must best make
use of his body language up to the hilt and, if required, he has to act in order
to reach his students. Gail Godwin rightly said, "Good teaching is one-fourth
preparation and three-fourth pure theatre”.

A good teacher is a great democrat and he always encourages students in


participation of discussion on the subject to generally different dimensional
thinking, apart from encouraging out-of-the box thinking and unconventional and
uncharted path. A great teacher should be totally free from doubts. He should be
highly confident and comfortable while teaching.

A good teacher is an effective and efficient communicator and makes the complex
things simple with his easy and straight teaching tools. He tickles the students
and enhances their creativity and innovation. If any student raises any doubts,
then the teacher must ask any other person in the class to clarify the same and if
it is not clarified he must accept the ball into his court and must clarify
through simple methods. By this, the teacher provides an opportunity to other
students to come out with their way of answering the questions.

A good teacher blows away, if any myths in the minds of their students and he
should encourage and challenge them to touch their upper limits. If stars are
their goals then sky is their limit. A good teacher must be like a doctor with a
healthy and positive mindset. Because when a patient goes to a doctor for taking
medicine by injection, the patient will have fear to get the same executed. Then
the doctor says nothing would happen and engages the patient in a friendly chat
and offers medicine by injection. Similarly if any topic is tough, the teacher
must infuse confidence in his students by saying it as simple and then should
explain the concepts clearly with clarity of thought.

Teaching is nothing but a novel method of presenting the subject. One should know
clearly that all successful teachers may not be knowledgeable teachers and all
knowledge teachers may not be successful teachers. It is aptly said, “The essence
of education is not what is poured in a student’s mind but what is planted”.

A good teacher should be a great learner and he should be fully prepared on the
topic by referring various books and then only he should enter the class as Joseph
Joubert correctly said, “To teach is to learn twice”.

Any teaching session should not be extended to more than 50 minutes, as beyond
which the students may not be in a mood to receive because of exhaustion. A good
teacher should gaze at all students equally so as to create a feeling that he is
talking to all. Excessive gazing at a few students will cause discomfort to those
few students. And the rest of the students may feel neglected by the teacher.
For a good teacher, all students are equal and he should not show any type of
partiality or favoritism towards bright students because the rest of the students
might get hurt. A good teacher constantly puts sustained efforts to bring out the
best from his students by inculcating great virtues. Any extra knowledge on other
issues is a feather in his the cap. The mental horizons of the students also get
expanded according to the teacher. In a nutshell, a good teacher knows something
of everything and everything of something i.e. his subjective knowledge. (Jack of
all trades and Master of his trade).

A good teacher should not only know ‘How to teach?’ but also should
know ‘How to learn?’ Because the way he learns and the same way he can teach with
wider applications and implications. To put it in the words of John Carolus S.J,
“We think too much about effective methods of teaching and not enough about
effective methods of learning”.

If necessary a good teacher must carry audio, visual material, newspaper cuttings,
to the class to experiment and experience the topic lively. The teacher should
not be static on the dais like a statue; he must move his body from place to place
to make the teaching natural and pleasant. In the middle of the teaching he
should ask relevant questions about the topic to keep students agile, active,
awake and alert in the class. Smile, as and when it is essential to put the
students at ease.

He must link the topic from previous class to the present and to the future
classes and there should be effective interconnectivity of the topic so those
students can feel that the subject is being taught with a natural flow. He should
also ask questions from the previously discussed classes so that the students will
prepare seriously at home to avoid ambiguity and confusion in the class. If
necessary, tests have to be conducted periodically to ensure that the students
study seriously at home and also to overcome from examination fever.

When the author took up teaching profession about Management Science (M S) subject
in an engineering college initially, the students did not understand when he
introduced his name along with his defense background. A student got up and asked
seriously, “Sir, I did not hear your name properly and would you mind repeating
your name?” To that, the author further questioned the student to name the subject
he was teaching. Then the student quickly replied as Management Science. Then
the author asked the student to name the subject in abbreviated format. Then the
student replied as M S. Then the author further asked the student to add RAO as
suffix to M.S. and his professional designation as prefix. And, then the student
felt greatly happy to remember the author’s name as Prof. M.S.RAO. This is also a
way of teaching by questioning and involving in conversation and it is popularly
called as Socratic method of teaching.

While teaching apart from the academic curriculum the students should be taught
about the practical application of the concepts taught and whenever something is
related their career, it must be focussed firmly and finely. It is advisable and
desirable to reconfirm from the students during the course of teaching by asking
like ‘Is that OK? Is it clear ?, Do you understand ?, Is it alright ? And so on.
It is a fine technique to keep the students totally immersed in class.

Conducting regular quiz programs or topic related quiz activities encourage the
students to involve actively and briskly even at home related to syllabus studies.
It is far better by gifting the bright students based on score they get during
such programs. Or else, providing ‘appreciation letters’ or ‘participation
certificates’ for such activities will also motivate them to stay to the academic
syllabus.

Teacher should respect their students and should hold them to high standards.
Teacher should not snub students if they ask for any clarifications during the
session. And it is essential to conduct question and answer session at the end of
each session by catering some time. It is like taking stock of the session and
often it serves as an effective feedback. A teacher can also assess and gauge
himself how effectively he taught. A teacher should always stay focussed on the
subject and should never lose sight of. If warranted, it is necessary to repeat
the things to students.

A good teacher must step into the shoes of the students and must empathize. Offer
model answers as guide and it helps them to address the examinations effectively.
Preparation of various model answers is a must to have a feel of the examination.
Teacher should adopt multiple methodologies and strategies while teaching. It is
like ‘end’ is one where as the ‘means’ are many.

WHY SHOULD ANYONE BECOME A TEACHER?

It is the noblest profession and there is a great degree of sanctity attached to


it. Most of the people take up this profession by chance not by choice. The
qualified people when they pass out from their institutions look for jobs
immediately and a few utilize this profession as a stopgap one. If one likes
this, then one can get attached and attracted to this profession forever or else,
can make a switch over to other profession.

In fact, there is a sense of thrill while teaching to the students because shaping
of students’ future only depends in the hands of the teacher. And a teacher can
derive great sense of job satisfaction and deep sense of fulfillment and
achievement when he learns that his students achieved miracles in their career. A
great teacher takes pride in molding the future of their students.

This profession brings out both creativity and innovation to the fore both from
the teacher side and from the students’ side. Consciously or unconsciously many
hidden things unfold during the process of teaching. Rather one can tap one’s own
natural and creative things spontaneously.

A teacher can feel like a commander till the completion of the class as the total
students obey the teacher with discipline and dedication. And none can enter the
class without his permission thereby having full command and control over the
students.

A teacher can also feel like a priest/pastor as the schools are treated as temples
of learning thereby attracting a great amount of dignity.

A teacher can learn his best from his students by posing various questions to the
students thereby getting multiple shades of views, opinions, ideas and comments on
each topic. This will help grow richer in knowledge and stature.

A teacher can work at best by experimenting various things in the class room and
rather each class can be treated as a workshop. He can adopt trial and error
method for each experiment and if he passes in the trial he can adopt the same
strategies/tools in other classes. And if he fails, he can reject the same and
try again for fresh strategies/tools. In a nutshell, a teacher can compare his
classroom like laboratory for conducting many experiments.

In this profession an individual can wear many masks, like that of a Hollywood
stars who plays different roles in their film career.

In this profession, one enjoys maximum number of holidays and as a result wok-life
balance can be maintained effectively. One can pursue writing books during
holidays and leisure or can go for part time employment during long vacation. And
if possible, one can involve in experimentation of what he learnt and taught in
the classrooms in the outside world thereby generating his own case studies.

Even if a teacher does not have sense of humor, the same can be cultivated by
moving friendly with his students. One can feel young both in mind and heart as
they move with students freely and frankly. By being with young people a teacher
thinks very young all the time and he can work with higher levels of energy and
enthusiasm.

Every profession is getting highly complex and complicated due to the growing
technologies and thus leading to higher levels of stress and burnout. In this
profession, there is a least possibility of getting burnt out. Even if one gets
stressed out he can regain and recoup very easily due to the availability of more
leisure time.

As long as the teacher commands subject he will command respect from his students,
from his superiors and it helps and ensures job security. So why not to choose
this noble profession as a wonderful career option?
GREAT TEACHERS:

A teacher should have passion, persuasive skills, presentation skills,


involvement, application of knowledge, role-playing and should base on trial and
error methods of teaching.

An average teacher teaches the topic, a good teacher converts dull students into
bright students and a great teacher creates great students who in turn excel in
their area of chosen line. And such great teachers become teaching legends.
Alexander the Great quoted, “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my
teacher for living well”. The great teachers across the globe are Aristotle,
Galileo, Isaac Newton, Pythogorous and so on to name a few. They are great
because they contributed their best in their life times. In India, every year on
5th September, Teachers Day is celebrated and across the world the Teachers Day is
celebrated on 5th October. It indicates the importance and significance attached
to teachers and to the teaching profession. “Teaching is the profession that
teaches all the other professions”, someone suitably said.

HOW TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL TEACHER?

Think of teachers those who made an impact in your mind right from your childhood.
And find out the reasons what made them so memorable in your minds. Recollect the
tools, techniques, strategies, methodologies etc., which made prints in your mind.
Analyze one by one slowly and list out. Then gradually apply them in your
practical life whenever you get an opportunity. Teaching must ignite passion in
the minds of the students. Inculcate and cultivate the out of the box thinking,
unconventional thinking and travel the uncharted path and leave a mark behind.
Always think, dream and sleep over the novel methods of teaching. With interest
and by regular interactions with students, one can evolve one’s own methods of
teaching. Read and reread the books of great teachers across the world and find
out what made them stand distinct from the rest. Visit websites related to
teaching you will get bundle of knowledge and information.

Look at your strengths and weaknesses and always try to overcome your weaknesses
by regular practice and training. Skills develop with practice and the easiest way
to develop skills is to practice. Take active part in various seminars, workshops
and training programs and learn. Especially in such wonderful workshops, the
birds of a same feather flock together. And that is yet again a wonderful
platform to interact and learn many things.

Regularly take feedback from your students and always find out the key areas that
needs for improvement and betterment. Students are the source of strength for any
teacher. The student’s mindsets’ are not controlled and conditioned. They are
young, fresh and energetic with virgin minds. They are far away from preconceived
notions and views. Their views and comments are authentic and genuine.

The feedback covers many areas such as body language, communication skills,
relevance, examples, data, novelty and so on. Every area must be given to a point
of scale and it can be measured accordingly periodically.

Similarly take feedback from your subordinates, peers, and superiors and discuss
with them regularly the ways and means of bringing out the best out of you and
also out of your students.
MEKA’S METHODS OF TEACHING:

Plutarch quoted, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited”.
Usage of blackboard/whiteboard in the classroom is essential as it provides
effective visual effects and the human brain remembers more when presented in
visual rather than audio effects. In listening there is a popular term ‘Time
Lag’. It is the gap between what a teacher can speak and what a student can
listen. Human brain is a vast powerful and wonderful device and it accepts 500
words per minute where as the speaker can deliver between 125 to 150 words per
minute on an average. This gap between the speaker and the listener is termed as
‘Time Lag’.

Apart from visual and audio effects the teacher should question the students
related to the topic in the middle of the teaching. As a result, the student’s
mind does not wander during the time lag and student summarizes what the teacher
has taught and keeps totally away from daydreaming in the class. By this process,
the student is encouraged to involve effectively and also to keep his mind with in
the class but certainly not out of the class.

The teacher must touch upon the topic systematically, chronologically by point
wise by arousing curiosity from the beginning to the end of the session. By
referring relevant case studies or personal examples or anecdotes a teacher can
enhance the students’ mental presence in the class. The teacher should be
flexible in his body language and move around the dais/podium with a friendly
smile and encourage the students’ participation. The author interconnects and
applies all the tools and techniques in order to make the teaching process a
pleasant and memorable one.

MESSAGE:

According to Hindu philosophy, the Mother is the first supreme (Matrudevo Bhava),
the Father is the second supreme (Pitrudevo Bhava) and the Teacher is the third
supreme (Acharyadevo Bhava). The teacher is accorded one of the highest statuses
and which is indeed sacred and unquestionable.

Teachers are not born, but with practice, they can be made. The great teachers
are not born in the minds of their students but they are born in the hearts of
their students. And the greatest teachers are born in the hearts of the great
teachers.

T H E E N D

(The author, Prof. M.S.Rao, is working as an Academic Guide in ICFAI University,


India. He is a professional trainer on soft skills, communication skills,
personality development, motivation, equity investments etc.; He also talks over
radio on various topics. He takes classes regularly for both management and
engineering graduates. He can be reached at email: profmsr7@yahoo.com)

Address: H.No: 6-18-188, New NGO’s Colony, Nizamabad-503002, INDIA