Sidi Ifni, Morocco - Good teachers are like candles that burn themselves to light the way for others. No one can deny this fact.
Sidi Ifni, Morocco – Good teachers are like candles that burn themselves to light the way for others. No one can deny this fact.
They burn themselves in that they make great efforts, destroy their health, tire their minds, and cope with everyday difficulties in making learners enjoy learning. This is why we have been taught by our ancestors that teachers must, therefore, be held in high regard at any rate. It is true that only good teachers enjoy burning themselves as long as there are still students who benefit from the light the burning brings about.
Yet the question that comes to my mind is: Why do teachers alone, and not other categories of society, burn themselves? Are teachers masochistic during the burning process? Why don’t writers and poets for their part burn themselves? Here, I believe that great writers and poets have died, but they are still remembered and noticed. Most teachers, however, die unnoticed even if they have served the noblest job on earth in their lifetime. No sooner do they kick the bucket than people begin to forget about the legacy that soon evaporates as the people they have taught die, too.
It is true teachers have left unseen legacies, but very few people remember and praise them. It is undeniable that thanks to teachers we have become what we are today. But, it is a real pity that they are not acknowledged in history as writers and poets. For me, I think it is partly because the former leave abstract effects, while the latter leave as their legacy concrete works. If this is not true, why are teachers known to burn themselves?
In my view, I believe there exist teachers who light the way for their students, but who do not necessarily burn themselves in the process. They escape burning for the simple reason that they teach and produce at the same time. And they do not allow themselves to be mere consumers of teaching. Such teachers do not only spend their time teaching as is the case with the majority of teachers, but they also carry on furthering their learning with the same curiosity as their excellent students.
When I was a trainee, we trainees were sent to attend an exceptionally good teacher’s class where we could acquire hands-on experience about teaching. Our teacher was ‘immaculate’ in the manner she taught her students. I liked her mastery of the subject matter just as I liked her mastery of the latest in teaching methodology. Yet, towards the end of our training practicum, to our surprise, she admitted to us that she had forgotten her advanced English and all that she still could still recall was her basic English. Fortunately, she still mastered the latter exceptionally well and taught it to her students in a very effective way.
Put differently, our mentor was hinting at the fact that she had burnt herself for the sake of her students, particularly that she spent quality time writing up her lesson plans and revising the right pronunciation of the name of vegetables and fruits, one of the coursebook lessons. Although she had lost her advanced English, she was still highly benefitting her students. All this simply boils down to the fact that the teacher began to ‘die’, while her students ‘began’ to live. The analogy implies that it is thanks to the teacher that students have begun to ”breathe” basic English, while it is because of these students that their teacher has begun to lose it.
Many diligent, conscientious teachers have admitted that they feel comfortable in their teaching careers, but they feel consumed with their dwindling level. Many teachers devote much time to finding out how to teach this and that, but they end up benefiting students alone, while doing themselves a serious disservice, that of not going beyond their career. If teachers are nowadays advised to go beyond the four walls of the classroom, they must also be advised to go beyond their academic lives.
Last but not least, I think researchers in the teaching field are aware of the jeopardy teachers are in if the latter do not take precautions against the looming burning. In an attempt to escape the burning, teachers are highly advised to strike a balance between teaching in the classroom and producing new things in their specialty. Personally, I think teaching in the most immaculate way possible only benefits students, but it does not necessarily benefit diligent teachers. Whereas learners enjoy the light, many teachers emit sounds of extreme pain that will sooner or later lead to an inglorious death.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily express Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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