Friday, 18 April 2014

P is for Personality, Personality of a Teacher

This A-Z challenge post is also tagged as a new post in the ongoing series on this blog - Reminders to self

For about 20+ years I have been a teacher - working at different levels of education, on two different continents and in two different modes, face-to-face and online. When I took a break of few years from active teaching, I was either studying how to be a better teacher or was researching on different aspects of education, the art and craft of teaching and the social-cultural context of learning and teaching. I am a daughter of someone who was a teacher for more than 35 years. I am a sister of teachers. I have a few pieces of paper that are supposed to prove that I have gained sufficient intellectual understanding of an academic discipline called "Education". So it comes as no surprise that I am always interested in learning more about the art, science and craft of teaching. I am always looking for great reminders on how to be a better teacher.

In this post I share one such "Reminder to my teacher-self" that I find extremely valuable. It is actually an ideal to aspire to, it provides an aim that has the potential for making each teaching moment a great learning moment, a moment for inner progress of the teacher herself.

In 1954, the Mother listed five personality traits of a successful teacher, in a response to a query sent by an institution of teacher education. These are:
1. Complete self-control not only to the extent of not showing any anger, but remaining absolutely quiet and undisturbed under all circumstances.
2. In the matter of self-confidence, must also have a sense of the relativity of his importance. Above all, must have the knowledge that the teacher himself must always progress if he wants his students to progress, must not remain satisfied either with what he is or with what he knows.
3. Must not have any sense of essential superiority over his students nor preference or attachment whatsoever for one or another.
4. Must know that all are equal spiritually and instead of mere tolerance must have a global comprehension or understanding.
5. “The business of both parent and teacher is to enable and to help the child to educate himself, to develop his own intellectual, moral, aesthetic and practical capacities and to grow freely as an organic being, not to be kneaded and pressured into form like an inert plastic material.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle)
~ CWM, Volume 12, p. 167

Going by this list, I have a long, very long road ahead, which hopefully will be full of teachable moments that could facilitate an experiential learning and development of some of these personality traits. For the first essential thing I must remember is that the day I stop progressing as a learner, I stop progressing as a teacher. 

And perhaps my inner progress as a teacher is one of the ways Nature has given me at the moment to make inner progress as a human being. Because work when done with the right attitude can be the best way to progress.  To gradually discover one's inner true nature, to slowly work through all life experiences to discover one's swadharma is after all what India teaches as the aim of life.

Given the immense significance of a teacher for the overall quality of an educational approach and system, I will take up the theme of teacher in a future post as well.

For the time being how about enjoying this beautiful video? Come on click on it, it is only 3 minutes long! And it has some cool pictures.

This post is written for the A-Z Challenge, April 2014. The theme I am exploring is - Putting India back in Indian Education

Click here for the previous post in the series.