by Anton Wills-Eve

<a href=””>We Can Be Taught!</a>




I really feel like writing something  I feel strongly about today so this prompt has given me the chance. The question is, what makes a teacher great? Well a teacher needs two  qualities and one piece of luck to be really great. He or she needs to know their subject backwards because a great love of what you teach, and the enjoyment it gives you personally, is essential if you are to communicate this to others.

Secondly a teacher has to accept that many pupils  have genuine problems understanding the basic concepts of some  topics, maths is the obvious one, and they have to be patient and persevere just as much as the student. If a child is too shy to admit ignorance in front of his peers, when the class seems to be finding something easy but the child doesn’t, a really good teacher spots this right away and takes the kid aside after a class or lecture or whatever and asks what the problems are. This is vital to solving pupil-teacher relationships that risk breaking down for no apparent reason, but ruins the chances of the child ever getting a grasp of the subject.

However the piece of luck the teacher needs much more than any other quality, is to have a class of students they like. Any teacher who allows prejudice or pre-formed opinions of what a particular set of students is going to be like, is doomed from the start. But if that luck is not there, and the teacher really does find a particular group of students an absolute pain in the backside, they have to practise the old English trick of keeping a stiff upper lip. This can be terribly difficult with a set of uninterested youngsters,  who as often as not have been written off  by family and previous teachers as slow witted, unhelpful and a whole string of adjectives that have no bearing on their true personalities at all. As often as not they are too scared to do anything but follow the pack.

A good teacher must risk life and limb, and sadly in this day and age this can often literally be the case, to combat this mass-bullying attitude of so many youngsters or they will struggle at everything all their lives. I have many friends who teach at all levels and ages and the job they do can be truly terrifying. Women  haven’t a chance in poor areas of inner cities and the lengths to which television soap operas go to encourage appalingly anti-social behaviour among the young is disgraceful. But the great teacher does rise above these problems on occasions, though sadly not nearly as often as they, their charges or their charges’ parents would like. But it is a triangular tragedy which will only be solved by multi-lateral co-operation which is sadly lacking in far too many schools today.