Teachers are not made, they are born– goes a popular saying. The innumerable teacher degrees, diplomas awarded to millions of teachers’ worldwide do not still make a teacher.

A reading of Stephen Covey’s ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People prompted me to list down the 7 healthy habits of effective teachers. Having been a teacher for a decade and a half and having been on the interview Panel for half a decade, I had the pleasure of meeting excellent, mediocre, average, poor teachers – of all sizes and shapes. What makes a good teacher has always remained a perennial question unanswered. The Seven Habits listed below are in a nutshell some of the major requirements for a teacher. Let’s look at them!

Synergize: Spiritual Commitment

Every educated adult who walks into a classroom as a ‘teacher’ need not be highly knowledgeable, but the job requires a spiritual commitment to the welfare of students. This single character in a person qualifies one to become a teacher. A commitment hundred percent to the benefit of students, a commitment that every minute spent with students is for them to learn, a commitment that the person stands for the highest, the noblest in ideals – makes one a teacher. Let all your energies synergize towards the fulfillment of these ideals.

Be proactive: Communication skills

This one quality which cannot be bought, borrowed or stolen neither from a book nor from anyone in perhaps one of the most essential traits required of a teacher. A teacher has to have strong communication skills, a good sense of intonation, pitch modulation and toning. With a good strong voice the teacher should be able to reach each and every student of the class. A variation in the pitch and tone would make the class vibrant, and omit any monotonous trills and drills if any. Humor is also very important and so are personal anecdotes which break the mundane routine of teaching and make the teacher come alive in the classroom.

Begin with the end in mind

All teachers plan, write lesson plans and plan for a series of lectures in order to complete the lesson. Teachers should aim for a constructive or active learning environment in the class… Keep the aim in mind, the outline, the lecture notes, home work schedule, problems, and activities necessary before you enter the class. Reinvent new teaching methods.Bring in real – lifeexamples in to the class room so that students feel connected.

Put things front: priorities issues

Many teachers complain that they are tired by the time they come to school and are equally haggard at school and at home.Teachers need to learn to prioritize issues on an everyday basis. As Covey says – “Don’t prioritize your schedule instead schedule your priorities.The first thing in education must be our students.The best and the brightest of students should be challenged.The disinterested must be motivated and the student with special needs be enabled.The given time is less and the work to be done enormous.Good planning and prioritizing help a long way in completion of tasks.

Think win – win

Teachers have to create a Win-Win situation when they help students to discover the answers rather than spoon feeding them with information.Use ‘n’ number of tools – multimediapresentation,software,videos and education software so on to make teaching effective.Also remember maintain a Win-Win situation with students – give respect and take respect.Students understand you if you treat them as equals.At any point of teaching, go down to their level and find students responding to you more and more

Read more and more

This is a habit of continuous improvement.A teacher who does not read, keep herself abreast of the changes taking place in the world, is not in the touch with the recent developments will not be accepted by students readily.Try to broaden your Outlook, read more and more, relate to the present and find your children relaxing and enjoying.

Practice what you preach

In simple words, it goes without saying “practice what you preach”.Children respect teachers who come to class on time, come prepared to class, and give assignment with sufficient time to complete them.Never criticize in public, if required a gentle and subtle way of reprimanding to be used.Develop different learning Styles as there is an amalgamation of students with different intelligences in the class.Perhaps, adopting the MI(multiple intelligence frameworks) would work.

All the Seven Habits listed above would become more effective if teachers go “The extra Mile”.It means teachers have to take time to meet students outside the class rooms,involve and share with the student’s failures and successes.Students should know that they can come to the teacher to talk. Teachers should be turned to the child’s educational psychological and emotional needs.Discipline your students but be disciplined yourself.Learn to ‘care, share, and love’:You are a ‘Teacher’.

By Jyothi Turaga