Introduction Teachers can indeed play a vital role in making students to excel in every field. They need not make every student merely follow the rote learning. There will be serious minded students who can excel in academics but also have a streak that indicates inclination to do social work, for example. If teachers can identify such innate strengths and help the students, they would be contributing to the nation as well. Specifically, teachers need to a) look for signals that suggest special talents b) leverage all resources to milk those talents c) encourage the child to excel further d) counsel parents and e) follow up even outside school/college.
Look for signals that suggest special talents The role of teachers is just before God in the saying that goes in Tamil like this. Maatha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam. In this order, the Guru refers to the teacher in schools and colleges. Teachers have a Guru role in identifying talent. In every human being, there are some God given talents. Some like to draw or paint. Some like to paint. Some like to dance. Some are very keen observers. Some are born extroverts who display huge leadership qualities even at the age of ten. Some are very reserved but otherwise very creative.
More than parents, the teachers at school have a huge duty to spot these talents in children. Some two years ago, teachers of a small Government school near Tiruvarur in Tamil Nadu came up for big praise. They had identified the singing habits of a very poor girl called Prithikaa. This girl was spotted with a huge singing talent. Breaking all barriers, she went on to win the Aitel Supersinger award from Vijay TV, a leading Tamil TV channel. This is just one example of what can happen if teachers take a personal interest in spotting talent and taking the same to the next level.
Today, the same girl is a lead performer in many contests and has given several hundred performances in so many places.
Similarly, there are stories of how some teachers have identified talents of budding cricketers, dancers and even film directors. This becomes very obvious when they become very famous and then quote the names of teachers who encouraged them in school or at college. Hence, the teachers should do this extra bit to identify special talents in children. The child prodigies are different. Their talent is noticed by parents early on.
However, since the rat race makes us so mechanical, teachers are bound to become mechanical too. Breaking this barrier is a big task. This task can be easily done through some resource pooling and through group work. There are several instances where a student may reveal his or her special talent. If the student is somewhat weak in academics,but too good, in say dancing, the teacher can get another girl who is good in academics to help her a little bit and also make the student do well in both. There are retired professors who help poor children learn specific subjects free of cost. Their tribe is also growing. What teachers need to do is to explore all such resources in any given situation. If this is done, most of the task can be completed easily. Teachers can and should do it.
Leverage all resources to milk those talents Sarath Babu was a brilliant boy in North Chennai. He only had his mother to support him through sales of iddli in the slum where they lived. Yet, since he was a bright student, his teachers not only give him moral support, they also got some community support organized for him. After his engineering in the PSG College of Engineering at Coimbatore, he went on to do his MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad. Today, he is the owner of a four hundred crore turnover business in the catering sector, and he is employing several hundred people. Teachers did it. His teachers encouraged him. This real world case study should motivate all teachers to encourage such children. There are the social clubs and even some good film actors who take care of children, through their own organizations that support poor children. One is given to understand the the legend called Scahin Tendulkar, is also supporting the education of some many hundreds of children. What the teachers need to understand is that their support in terms of economic support is vital in this regard. Of course, their motivation and encouragement will take care of the moral support as well.
Encourage the child to excel further In the case of Prithika mentioned above, her teachers had a big role in giving her the moral and economic support but also enlisting community support. She had been identified as a good talent. Yet, when she was asked to go further, her own parents were not sure. However, it is on record that her teachers were the ones who egged her to go ahead and take part in the vital Airtel Supersinger Contest.
Similarly, it ought to be understood that the JEE examination and the NEET examinations are all about deep learning and a thorough understanding of all basics and their application. Mere rote learning will not do. The teachers have a big role to train students right from the eighth standard so that their understanding of basics becomes perfect. It is encouraging to note that even some State Governments have started special sessions in this regard.
Folow up even outside school/college Follow up in terms of even visiting the houses of children is a must. In fact, these days, this has even become more vital, as the students become quickly distracted or even loose interest in perusing some special talent that they have or even concentrate on studies in a particular subject that interests them maximum.There are case studies where even a single visit to the residence of a student has produced wonders. More so, when the parents get to know about the passion of their son or daughter.
For example, those who are very good in mathematics, it has been noticed, are very good in computer sciences. as they have a natural ability to organize facts and apply them for creative solutions in software. Similarly, those who are extroverts very naturally, are so good in professions such as advertising, event management and so on. This should be identified by the teacher, who is so close to the student for most of any single day. The teacher has a special responsibility in the parent-teacher meeting. The parents should also be encouraged to give full support to their children in this respect.
The most important point is that mere studies is not important. The teacher has a special role to play in taking the children far away from rote learning. The transition from the eighth standard up to standard ten, that is, the school final stage is vital. Similarly, at the college level, the teachers have a big role in counseling of children. The teachers have to take on the challenge. In these changing times, the Guru in each teacher needs to be seen in total. There is no need for any external source for teachers to be motivated in this regard. Sincerity and passion to do things differently are two imperatives that will make a huge difference in the end.
A teacher should be able to see the inner strengths of the students and they should be encouraged to excel in those areas. A real teacher should understand the student's strengths and weaknesses and work on those lines where his weaknesses will become his strong points in achieving his goals. At the same time, he should be able to see that the student will develop in the line of his interest and excel.
But these days is this possible or anyone is really doing this. If really somebody wants to work on a student the other duties of the teacher may not allow him. So what I feel is the parents should become the first teacher's of their children and see that they will be properly guided and see that they will excel in their lives.
A good narration by the author about the role of the teacher.