Pragmatic ideas for teachers to become game-changers in schools and colleges


No school or college teacher can be a mere teacher anymore. He or she needs to be differentiators and real game-changers. Some nuances of making this happen are sought to be discussed in some detail in this article.

Introduction

Irrespective of whether one is a teacher in a school or college, the game of teaching has undergone a drastic transformation. For example, for want of students in Government schools, the State Governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are closing down many schools. To tide over this crisis in the rural areas in particular, the teachers are taking a personal interest in the teaching of ten or fifteen students who study in the first to fifth standard.

Be that as it may, what is obvious are some systematic steps. In the main, these are: a) Go in for the highest qualifications b) Be highly focused from day one c) Never compromise on ethics and values and d) Always infuse creativity and innovation.

Go in for the highest qualifications

If you are a school teacher, it is essential that you have a post-graduate degree and also the B.Ed qualification. However, it is unwise for you to stop here. You need to acquire the Post Graduate M.Ed qualification as well. The New Education Policy might make it imperative for you to acquire even more qualifications. So many wise teachers are acquiring the Master's degree in Psychology, to add to their skill sets. Please do note that this Master's Degree in Psychology is now offered by many Universities through distance education. You would do well to even acquire a Diploma in Guidance and counselling that is now offered through correspondence by some Universities. Only such qualifications will enable you to go far ahead in your teaching career.

Be highly focused from day one

This is extremely important. Let us imagine that you teach Marketing in an upcoming B-School, situated in a semi-urban location, around 70 kilometers from a big metro city. Obviously, the students would be at a disadvantage and they would not be knowing much about the industrial developments.

As a teacher, you have two choices. The first choice is to follow, very faithfully, what is written in the textbooks and teach the syllabus in a way that the students understand. Furthermore, the student will be able to relate to the needs of the examination and the syllabus requirements prescribed by the University. Industry exposure would be zero. The second choice is to infuse a practical approach towards teaching and this would entail that you get a lot of information from the field. This can be through business newspapers and business magazines. For example, if you were to teach organized retail, you would really need to teach them about Kishore Biyani and his various business plans. You would have to teach the students about Reliance Fresh. You need accurate information about the strategies of these players and how the industry has already evolved and is still evolving.

This method of teaching will perhaps make a big difference to your skill as a teacher and to the students in understanding the practical context of whatever they learn in theory. This is the focus that you need to have. Furthermore, you also need to keep exploring every single option to be able to actively publish quality research-based articles in refereed journals. Only this will help you grow and express yourself. Merely having a doctorate does not mean anything today. You also need to have published at least one or two books, in a span of five years.

Never compromise on ethics and values

This is extremely important as well. If you start compromising on values and ethics, your career will be doomed. Even in your college, there will always be some history of some teacher who did something unique and always had the best of ethics and values.

The more you know about such authority figures and role models, the better it is for you. For, nothing happens when you start cutting corners. The students will see through your game. So will your peers and superiors. You will soon lose all your credibility and the rest will follow. When you make mistakes in teaching, there is every possibility that you will be charged by the Management. There is also a big chance of the parents making some complaints against you.

A common mistake made by school teachers is to encourage the students to compulsorily come home for private tuitions. The students who do so are always given some preference and there are teachers who give good internal marks for such students, who actually give them business. This is the worst compromise on fundamental values and ethics. The long arm of the law may indeed catch up with you, even when the needle of suspicion points towards you, for wealth beyond the known sources of your income. Remember, when the character is lost, everything is lost.

Always infuse creativity and innovation

This is another essential dimension of your becoming a game-changer. Creativity and innovation can always be done in terms of teaching the students something far beyond the syllabus and also making the students understand what they need to know in terms of the external events in the business world, and how to relate them to their own syllabus or whatever. For example, it does pay for an eighth-standard student to really understand what solar energy is all about. It also does pay for him to understand the real problems in the coal crisis. Giving such students an assignment to collect a lot of information on the subject will indeed make the student understand the nuances of whatever happens around them. This will make them more adaptable to changes at a later date. The scope for this kind of creativity and innovation is so huge and it does pay for the teacher to keep on exploring the scope in any given situation. Today, the advent of the internet has made such creativity and innovation all the easier and hence the game-changing innovation is eminently possible.

Conclusion

Being and becoming game-changers in schools and colleges is a must in today's times. The exact chemistry of getting this done will obviously differ from case to case and it is essential that the teachers become extremely aware of these dynamic imperatives in the context of today's demanding times.


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