When it comes to learning, I invite you to close your eyes and travel back to the early days of your learning experiences within the school setting. Picture your classroom and some of its interior, your teachers and some of their actions, your classmates and some of their reactions, which are the subjects that the majority of you eagerly looked forward to and enjoyed? What was the reason for your affinity towards this particular class? Was it the teacher or the subject matter? If a considerable percentage of the class exhibits sincere interest into the subject then the fact must be attributed to the role and personality of the teacher. What does it take for a teacher to have a positive and profound effect on their students? What are the attributes of those teachers and what sets them apart? Passion, creativity, commitment, patience – these are only some of the ingredients teacher’s presence.
Teachers with strong creative and artistic abilities are capable of filling lessons with life and imagination, thus making it fun and engaging for students. Through their warm and energetic personality, enthusiastic teachers captivate and bond with the students. Such a teacher enters the classroom armed with a smile and demonstrates their joy and excitement for the next shared adventure. The enthusiastic and approachable teacher is there to take part and collaborate in the learning rather than direct it. Personally, I sit along with the students, do the activities I have assigned them, and play with them so that they can feel I am one of them and we all work together. Fun classrooms make a happy place for children who will want to cooperate with the teacher.
That is why passion and experience counts way more than being a native English speaker or a non-native one. It is more realistic to look at one’s strive to achieve coupled with their genuine passion in making a positive difference in children’s’ lives and futures as the prime determinant of one’s ability to guide children in their learning not only by delivering knowledge but also by being an inspirational role-model. Because those of us who were born in a non-English speaking nations yet have an extensive exposure to the English language and thus have acquired native fluency, had to work harder to reach greater lengths.
Another way of bridging the teacher-student gap would be through out-of-class interactions with students, such as mingling with them during their lunch time, recess, or during their extracurricular activities. In this way, not only do the teachers learn more about the character and interests of the students but they also have the opportunity to assist children in making sense of some of the classroom lessons or to create new learning opportunities. Learning takes place in all sorts of situations through all kinds of interactions – in the playground, canteen, classroom or at school trip. In this way, the teacher can see which lessons have been comprehended and applied in real-life situations while the students can see the genuine concern of the teacher. Teachers who show interest not only in what their students say but also in what they do and who they are, make their students feel valued.