We have failed teachers! Long has the focus been on evaluating how students respond to teaching methods without giving much attention to how the teachers interact with students. Nothing in life comes from the void; our actions and beliefs invite the type of occurrences we invite. So while we preach about modern education being a two-way street, is that really the case?
Somehow the reverence students owe their teachers has been twisted into some kind of demigod complex for some who disguise themselves as teachers. This particular breed of instructors thinks they are above any sort of accountability. To be able to gain and maintain control of a generation that has been spoilt by easy access to all information without being offered the proper tools to assess it, some teachers go beyond what is permissible.
They place themselves beyond reproach and make it clear that it is always the student’s fault. Such an attitude is likely to cause even more resentment among students. This goes double for teenagers who are going through a hormonal maelstrom that threatens their sanity every waking moment. Even the slightest trigger is likely to send them off let alone being unjustly treated and oppressed. This will cause them to bitter and angry lashing out even when they are not being attacked.
Has anyone of those exalted beacons of righteous outrage ever took a closer look at themselves? We are all human and prone to mistakes and mishaps, yet some teachers place themselves above any accountability. They never even deign to admit they could have lost their temper and professional attitude at any given moment. Why among us hasn’t had a bad day when the world seemed so intent on attacking us and we felt the need to lash out? Who can honestly say that they have not been guilty taking it out on their students even once?
As teachers, we are upheld by a higher moral responsibility because we shape the builders of the world. A self-critic is the hardest thing we can ever do because it means stripping ourselves raw and exposing it with no armor against self-reflection. But this accountability is what keeps us grounded and connected to our students. It’s the humility that we seek to instill in our students; it’s the insight that true knowledge shows us. We cannot be driven by our ego and a sense of self-preservation that makes us blind to our faults.
Some teachers will rile up to defense saying they are being assessed each year by their superiors and students, and had they not had stellar reviews, they wouldn’t still retain their jobs. But if we are to ask the students, most will reply that the review they fill is beyond their comprehension because it is constructed in a yes/no format that does not allow them to express their opinion. Even the box that asks for their input is not sufficient because they never seem to be able to express themselves without ending up sounding like sulking teenagers.
Teachers are not the only ones at fault because they are not being taught properly. The focus is always on controlling and never about understanding. The focus should not only zero on students when it comes to interactive learning; we should also dedicate the same effort to helping teachers navigate the murky waters of this new pedagogic landscape.