By Hu Wo (Cuckoo’s Song)
It would be easy for a person to get into the teaching profession with his eyes open, but that will be absolutely difficult to become a success as a teacher. Of course, since a strong sense of vocation for teaching is also a sort of art, a good teacher should have got hard skills as well as soft skills when communicating first-hand with students. Those skills can be termed good teacher qualities, which include punctuality and regular attendance, remembering each individual student’s name, mastery of language or subject teaching, pretty or clear handwriting, great patience, a welcoming smile, sweet talk, using reward power, checking and correcting students’ homework, telling stories or providing enjoyable activities, keeping a promise, clean, neat, smart clothing styles, and not biasing. Here, these teacher qualities which students usually like will be explained as summarized below.
Some teachers tend to arrive at school or a teaching space 15 minutes or so before school time, but others exactly at that time. Good as earlier attendance at school may sound, students like to admire the teachers who get to school in an exact open school hour more than the ones who come there earlier. The teachers that are always meticulous in going to and coming back from school are generally supposed to have had occupational exactitude, I mean. Then, students take care of teachers’ school attendance regularity simply because this makes their school lessons uncontinuous and also arouses their intrinsic motivation for regular study.
The headmistress from a private school where I attended is able to learn not only every individual student’s name but also their fathers’ by heart. After all, headmasters, class teachers and subject teachers ought to know their individual students’ names at least, even though they are dozens or hundreds in number. This is because students feel it highly likely that their teachers will be giving attention to them all the time.
A teacher’s mastery of instruction is his life in that as a teacher, he must have known a subject or language inside out and then studied how to teach it effectively as well as efficiently, including a reliable method of helping students understand every lesson of his. Students often want their teachers to answer or reply to any question that they wish to ask. That is why students have assumed their teachers to be a mine of information about subjects or languages. Sometimes the student would like to know the strange or imaginary or unnatural subject matter on the universe, religions and so forth from the teacher who is considered an all-rounder in these aspects.
The teacher’s bad handwriting might be a disturbance in students’ learning process, in which they cannot see his writing well, that is to say, clearly. In addition, even some teachers’ handwriting may involve spelling errors and careless mistakes in written form. Thus, students desire to look at a teacher’s pretty, neat, or even clear handwriting which will not cause blurred senses of their sight. In my experience, many students hold teachers whose handwriting is of good quality in high regard and can even imitate it.
Teachers need to be patient with explaining school lessons to students and will have to put up with their misbehaviours such as complaining to or answering back to some extent. It does not mean that a teacher has weak or no classroom control over his students. He must be on familiar terms with the students, especially when teaching mathematics. More patience turns out to be the key to winning popularity with students for a teacher as well. Students love teachers with great patience and nice teachers bear with bad students to their utmost.
A welcoming smile automatically helps ease the tension in a teacher-student relationship. Usually, students smile sweetly at their teachers first. If and when, first off, teachers smile at their students, then the students will smile back for certain. As always, students welcome their teachers’ broad smiles which can establish warmth and friendliness between them, to be sure.
`Sweet talk is the key to success´ or `Sweet talk can govern the whole country´, as the Myanmar sayings go. In other words, there is no person who does not like sweet talk. Paying students a compliment every now and again is the sweetest talk given by teachers and so is saying suitable personal pronouns, for example, using `we´ instead of `I´. Oddly enough, a number of students enjoy being called their nicknames, which are possibly sweet talk by teachers. It is best if a teacher has a good sense of humour. Also, care should be taken that sweet talk comes from mental beauty and emotional control as usual.
As we are all probably aware, there are found five powers in teacher education: professional or expert power, legitimate power, reference power, reward power, and coercive power. Of these powers, students long for reward power from teachers, that is, they want to get material things or even a little pencil that is awarded as a prize by their teachers due to outstanding achievement in school lessons or activities. In essence, students wish to be proud of being recognized as outstanding ones by their teachers.
After teachers have given students homework, they are responsible for checking it to the letter any other day. Every teacher should never forget to check homework as well as go for a homework-giving and correction habit. A thorough homework check-up still shows mutual respect between teacher and student and the student finds it the teacher’s very concentration on his work.
Any teacher will never have to content himself just with his subject knowledge; he had better take up co-curricular or extra-curricular activities like reading, singing, drawing, playing musical instruments and dancing. Telling stories or conducting enjoyable activities in the classroom are students’ favourites.
There is a Myanmar proverb, `The promise of human being, the loyalty of the king´, we know. But it will be seen that making or breaking a promise is not difficult for a normal person apart from keeping it for everyone. A promise can be called even the most important part of a teacher’s life. For instance, if the teacher has told his students that he will throw a party for them, he is going to have to celebrate that party. Often students totally dislike it when teachers are forgetful or negligent of their promises.
Now the clothing styles of a teacher are a matter of the greatest importance to him, he should wear clothes for love, respect, and dignity. Teachers always have to remember that students are much given to seeing them from head to toe whether they have put on a watch or what type of shoes. If hairstyles are the second face of a person, clothes may turn out well to be his third face. Teachers’ clothing must look adorable and admirable in the eyes of students, actually.
Nice teachers have no biases towards or against students from all walks of life, rich and poor, good and bad. To be quite truthful with this article’s readers, the students are constantly meeting a lack of readiness – physical, mental, emotional, and social-psychological problems such as a broken family and domestic violence. They will feel able to guess straight away whether or not their teachers have biased them in favour of any other student. Hence, it would be better for them to have dropped their biases about teacher-pupil relations.
The above-mentioned facts have been founded on my own personal experience. There will be other teacher qualities arising in the world of education. Myself, I would still like to add effective and efficient use of boards, i.e. blackboards or whiteboards, successful teaching results, access to student evaluation, the utilization of fair coercive power, dependability, reliability or validity teaching practice and so on as the next teacher qualities. In short, only qualified teachers beloved by students will be able to attempt quality education, which is a foregone conclusion.