When I was a school kid, I was always envious of my teachers’ lives. A peek into the staffroom with the odd query, or collected test papers earned me a glimpse of their glorified world: chatting over cups of tea, and laughing at their private jokes.
I would think, “How lucky!” We students had to do the studying and all the hard work, while the teacher had it easy making us write exams and tests! It seemed so unfair.
Now, sitting on the other side of the table, I understand how challenging a teacher’s job can be: it’s certainly not a bed of roses!
Challenge #1: Getting to know your students
The teacher – student relationship is a very important one. After all, this is the very basis of the profession. As a teacher, just as you feel you have got to know your class, the year seems to have whizzed by, and you have a fresh batch of new faces to deal with! This surely keeps you on your toes!
Challenge #2: Setting up the curriculum
Summer holidays are off-time for students, but not so easy for teachers. The ‘infrastructure’ for the coming academic year has to be set. Syllabi, class schedules and timetables need to be devised and designed. Term-wise targets for topics to be covered in each subject, as well as the schedules of tests and exams, have to be worked out. Teachers have to plan so that the school year runs like a well-oiled piece of machinery.
Challenge #3: Managing time in class
Every day in a teacher’s busy life is a challenge. In general, a child is not a completely docile, obedient being. Put a few children together as a class in school, and you have a barrelful of monkeys! A teacher has to have the knack of keeping the class running on schedule so that the target for that period is completed successfully. Never mind those distracting or disruptive students who seem to crop up in every class!
Challenge #4: Discipline
This brings us to discipline. How much is too much?
The old proverb of sparing the rod and spoiling the child is frowned upon today. Yet a school must encourage discipline whether it is in students’ attire, work or demeanour in class. A teacher has to strike the correct balance between being a friend and a figure of authority. This takes a lot of skill.
Challenge #5: Timely feedback
A class is not complete unless the students have successfully imbibed the lesson. How will a teacher know this? One way is through homework and tests. Correction of homework and evaluation of tests will let a teacher know how successful his/her teaching has been. Discussions and feedback to students will complete a session. Whatever the pressures, timely feedback to students is very important.
Challenge #6: Every student is different
The very word ‘class’ robs the student of his/her individuality. Though lessons and methods are designed for this collective entity, a teacher must never forget that each student is an individual. This is not so easy with the ever-increasing size of classes: there are almost seventy students to each section in many Indian schools! Yet, a teacher is only as successful as his/her most backward student. It is the teacher’s moral responsibility to see that no student is left behind the others.
Challenge #7: Engage students
Every student has a favourite subject. This is often guided by the teacher’s ability to engage the student and make the topic interesting. In adulthood, we nostalgically recall ‘that bore’ who droned through a class and put us all to sleep or that ‘great’ teacher who fired our interest in Maths or History with super teaching skills.
Challenge #8: Communicating with parents
It’s not just students who come in different shapes, sizes and temperaments; it’s their parents too! Also, as the strength of students in each class increases so does the number of parents a teacher has to deal with. Since both the teacher and the parents have the welfare of the student at heart, communicating concerns and sharing a good vibe with parents is essential.
Challenge #9: Keep up with changes
Education is a dynamic entity which keeps changing constantly. The CTET and the TET, for example, were introduced to set standards of teaching and teachers. Qualifying in this test is mandatory to hold a government teacher’s job. Policy decisions like this, changes in syllabi, the introduction of technology, etc. make it necessary for teachers to change their skill sets to suit the changed era. Evolving is part of the teacher’s job.
Challenge #10: Mould to the institution’s policies
A teacher is an employee as well as the representative of an institution. It is essential for a teacher to adjust to the demands of the employer. Some schools follow a policy of interactive discussion and consensus, but this may not always be the case. Not only does a teacher have to get along with colleagues but with the administrative authorities of the school as well.
No doubt, there are many challenges that teachers face in their jobs. But very few jobs can give one the supreme satisfaction of having moulded the personality and set the course of another person’s life. Teaching does that.
The Right to Education Act has underlined the Government of India’s commitment to educating our masses. It has been clearly understood that only high-quality teaching can result in national development.
The Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) is a sort of ‘entrance exam’ for teachers to enter the hallowed portals of a good school run by the Central government or a State government, government-aided schools, and even the better private schools who want teachers of good quality.
Who understands the challenges of being a teacher and scoring high in the CTET better than Team TalentSprint?
Ready for the challenge? You can count on us.