The teacher who goes to the class to teach is the active input to the educational process. The physical plant, the instructional materials, the supervisory structure, the course content and the instructional program are less active in the educational mix than is the teacher. It is the teacher who inspires, guides, directs and accomplishes the goals of the educative efforts through the teaching-learning situation. Remove the teacher from the classroom and the learning situation will be as dull as a doorknob.
Unfortunately, however, there are teachers who do not hone their personality to the mission of teaching. They are uninspired and uninspiring. The teacher who faces the class in a cheerless disposition spreads the cheerless contagion thereby violating the precept that learning should essentially be a pleasant experience. Learning a subject the hard way if the subject is hard does not necessarily include the agony of being taught by a cheerless teacher. If learning takes place where the teacher is uninspired and uninspiring, there is learning not because but in-spite of the teacher.
A teacher need not be beautiful, handsome or splendidly dressed. But neatness is a must. A proper attire, a cheerful appearance and an air of confidence do much to project a pleasing appearance which will no doubt bring enthusiastic learner response. On the other hand, a teacher who projects the image of a loser or of one who tries too hard to project the image of class and superiority will do much to deter positive response from the pupils who are ever in need of someone who is friendly, respectable and reachable.
Personality is, however, more than the outward appearance that one may project with neatness, smiling face, friendliness and even disposition. It requires inner strength and character. Character cannot be contrived. It is the result of the molding of a person over time. When one considers teaching as a mere sources of livelihood rather than a mission, he or she cannot have character as a teacher and will just be stingy with time and effort as well as continually attempt to perform the bounden duties by following the line of least resistance. It is said that only when teacher has become wholly mission-oriented does the teacher acquire character. In fact, the teacher who has acquired the teacher’s personality is one whose character is to guard against social reproach considering that the molding of society through the learners is the ultimate in the teacher’s mission.
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Teachers’ personality stands on confidence built upon competence. Confidence makes the person less defensive and therefore less aggressive in dealing with peers and pupils. Confidence is the inner strength of the teacher and this could be reinforced by educational advancement and wider social exposure. The teacher who has not done much to update knowledge and skill will inevitably lose confidence and suffer from diminished poise.
The teacher has the personality of being adaptive to the social environment. He or she maintains the same poise and confidence with any social group. Teachers are not supposed to be firm and assured only when dealing with lower economic strata. They should not become wilted characters when dealing with the haves. They should, however, be able to express themselves and carry interaction within the cultural dimension of any social group.
The development by teachers of their personality befit the mission they have been given and which they have chosen requires the involvement of government’s which must see to it that teachers are not pariah. When the teachers are overworked, unpaid and powerless, they can only have the image of losers in dilapidated personality. But even if government falls short of providing the base for the building of teacher confidence, it is still part of being a teacher to make the best of what can be done. No society has even been impervious to the need to give teachers what they deserve economically and socially. Even now, the Department of Education has set up some recommendations to improve the lot of the teachers. This is a source of hope.
Photo Courtesy: Anton Diaz / Antonio’s Tagaytay