Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The TEACHING PROFESSION - Am I cut for it ?

Some called them a teacher, others called them an instructor, a lecturer, a facilitator, a tutor, a trainer, and an educator. They may come in various hats, but one thing for sure, they all TEACH others to be a better person !
Webster’s II New Riverside Dictionary defines "to teach" as follows :
i) to communicate knowledge or skill (to)
ii) to provide instruction in
iii) to give insight by example or experience.

Synonyms to the word “teach” are instruct, train and tutor. Whereas “teaching” is defined as :
i) the act, practice, or occupation of teachers
ii) something taught, especially a precept or doctrine.

In Islam, "teaching" is a noble profession. In fact one of the four important characteristics of our prophet Muhammad S.A.W. is TABLIGH, which literally means “to deliver” (menyampaikan) – that is the sharing & dissemination of information, in the spirit of giving advice or reminder (memberi peringatan).

One may ask : What does it takes to be a good teacher ? From my 20 odd years in the education sector, I found that those who wish to choose a career in teaching must have the following :

ATTRACTIVE – pleasant personality, smile more, well dressed, remember you’re a role model to your students
WILLINGNESS TO LEARN – be a learner. Always attend seminars, workshops, reading, listening and watching to positive CDs and tapes, engage in group discussions, get latest info from the internet
SELF CONFIDENT – build self-confidence, be the best of yourself, demand 100% from yourself
SELF DISCIPLINED – develop a reputation as a person who is personally self-disciplined, this will win you respect
CREATIVE THINKING - a creative problem solver
Somewhat REBELLIOUS - not a crowd-follower !
Ability to MOTIVATE & LEAD others
HUNGRY TO SUCCEED – always looking for someone better and more successful than you, try to emulate them as role model
EXTROVERT – not selfish, a people-person who really care for their students right from their heart - ask more than telling, not harsh, reminding them that you’re there to help them, never be defensive, encourage them to share their challenges with you, build on their strengths, find out what their goals are and help them keep those goals in focus, help them deal with failures, give them personal attention – like sending personal notes (sms /email) to them, cut out relevant and helpful articles and make copies for them.
BALANCED in his / her personal life – show respect, interest in outdoor activities or other extra-curricular areas. Willing to do whatever it takes – in order to learn and teach the students more effective skills
OPTIMISTIC – give them incentives for top performance, praise them individually in public more, encourage more, teach them to deal with objection or failure
Other criteria are : ambitious, think big, energetic, entrepreneurial, commitment towards profession, articulate, good interpersonal skills

Remember that you cannot talk and listen at the same time – therefore, good communication skill is crucial. Whether we like it or not, our oral communication habits create impressions on others. The following are a few pointers :

The voice reflects the level of excitement and enthusiasm of the speaker. As much as 80% of the message can come from the tone and quality of the voice.
Avoid monotone. Change your tone from time to time by lifting the tone of your voice.
Able to interject with some appropriate humor will also help.
Pace yourself - avoid speaking too quickly or too slowly, as these habits can easily annoy the listener and finally will either tune out or go to sleep.
Avoid non-words, nasal whining, mumbling, swearing, curse words, or speaking too loudly. Words like “um”, “ah”, “er”, “right”, “okay”, “man”, “shit”, et cetera are irritating to listeners.

And finally, watch your body language – stand tall and be yourself.

1 comment:

Neeza Shahril said...

I think I have almost all traits except number 2 - willingness to learn. That's why I can't be a lecturer... and that's why it's not one of my dream profession pun.. hehehh..