I received a question from one of my fellow students, Akshay. I would not call him my student because sometimes I am his student as he goes on to teach me so many literary things. He asked: "What Makes a Good Teacher?" अच्छा टीचर कैसा होता है?
That day I went to take a preparatory workshop for the participating students of Debate, Elocution and Declamation at SD College in Ambala Cantt. Going to SD has been a regular thing as they have been the unique institution that arranges special training for literary competition participants. The students were four and all of them were girls. That speaks of the strange gap we see in sincerity towards oratory and reading these days. Not that all girls read or all boys are negligent, but there is a fall from the goodness we had in the old days.
Let me avoid being an elder who does not trust the young. I do see hope because readers are still there, and orators are very much present but we have lost that connectivity. All good people, especially, readers feel that no one else is reading. I deny this pessimism because there is only a lack of space or popular culture in the trend but still things are going on. Young age readers are keeping things alive. The circle of reading and thinking is not broken but widening each day. That is how I get questions from students and then I have to think and answer them.
This is the question here about teachers and the answer that I gave him while taking a walk in the sports ground of the SD college that day.
I said I have not thought of what will be the answer to your question about the prime quality of a teacher. I assured him that I had not prepared to frame my answer. But while walking in that real-time, I mentioned ATTRACTIVENESS as the First Quality a teacher must have at this age.
Being able to earn attention; being impressive enough to attract the learners to come and gather around an individual makes him or her a teacher. Knowledge and academic excellence are of course important but without being able to have the magnetic feature, all becomes useless. This is a generation of 'demanders' and they buy you as a teacher. Not to support the view that education is business and students are mere clients. I am an old-school teacher who knows that maintaining an aesthetic sense of character will help me attract more students. Once there is an audience; once there is a learner who is ready > The Teacher Appears!
We did discuss a lot and I could explain to him things quite frankly about what happens in the classroom when I teach. The chemistry that we develop with students of any gender or any age, depends on how you have kept yourself connected to them. This keeps you young and in good spirits. You may even feel appreciated, adored and even celebrated when they look at you. This pushes you to carry your best version each day.
So, here I add one more dimension to the suggestion of 'attractiveness' in a teacher. The attractiveness of students is the trigger here. A teacher should enter the classroom, look at the students, make eye contact and firmly declare that he believes in them, appreciates them and identifies with them. A world of its own is constructed when this reciprocity is established and the connection with the leaners is a life-long bond then.
Celebrate Teaching! Love Yourself for being a Teacher! This is a Reward!