EducationNationalVOLUME 17 ISSUE # 17

Talented teachers

Sara came home one fine day with spilling tears. She was a third grader and tripped up by multiplication tables. To help gain confidence and practice her math skills, Sara began visiting her neighbouring tutor, Ms Zara.

Ms Zara used games and various methods targeted at the most important concepts her student needed to learn. She helped her feel capable and have a little fun all while learning her timetables. Colourful flashcards and a whiteboard were some of the tools in Ms Zara’s toolbox. While these tools were helpful, they were not only the game-changer for Sara but also Ms Zara herself.

Ms Zara possesses an unusual talent for helping students to learn. She saw problems from Sara’s perspective, calmed her fear of failing, and remained focused on the learning outcome. She persisted through the challenges with a hint of joy because she had dismissed any lingering doubt in her student’s mind that she could not succeed.

Many types of research have proved that teachers with a gifted talent for the teaching role possess the following talents:

They have a strong drive to see their students achieve their maximum potential. These teachers are persistent pursuers of their students’ achievements. They own the success of their students and persist through hesitant blocks that threaten to deter their progress.

They establish learning environments centered on close relationships. These teachers have a strong belief that positive relationships are essential for learning. Their level of care is intense, and it is focused on the best outcomes for students. Their students respond to their care with increased efforts and motivation to learn. They help individuals value one another and each individual’s uniqueness. Those with an innate talent for teaching can establish trust which inspires an engaging, energetic, positive and even joy-filled learning space.

They promote an innovative yet organized classroom structure. The most talented teachers are, likewise, able to structure their classroom learning environments in a way that carefully balance freedom with discipline. They invite creativity while never surrendering purposefulness and order. They are prepared for teaching but flexible enough to respond to the moment to teaching opportunities. Extremely talented teachers are always busy finding new ways to help students discover and learn.

Very few people can consistently demonstrate each of these three qualities of highly effective teachers. But, when schools can increase their proportion of distinctive talented teachers, they increase the probability that students will be highly engaged and set up for success.

It has been strongly observed that a small proportion of teacher applicants from its extensive teacher insight database possess an extreme talent for the role. Finding and identifying highly talented teachers, as early as possible, is a treasure hunt which decision-makers, as well as nations, can ill-afford to ignore.

We must find and develop such teacher treasures and grow them as resource banks. These teachers could grow up to impact young people just like Ms Zara by taking up actionable academic planning. Such children are sitting in each school’s classrooms not only in Pakistan but all over the world. They are learning not only language structures, multiplication and long division, but also about great teaching by talented teachers. Sara dreams about being a special education teacher one day. She may not recall all of the methods Ms Zara used to teach math, and by the time Sara is old enough to teach, the curricula will have been reinvented a dozen times over. However, she will remember how Ms Zara made her feel about learning by her special way of handling her learning challenges.

An enduring talent for teaching leads to connecting and developing young humans and is an inborn skill that must be identified early. We need to guide these teachers intentionally for further required improvements as earliest as possible. It should be obligatory for the educational decision-makers to search for gifted teachers, find them and invest in their talent for developing the future’s best generations. Those young teacher treasures can be discovered in children who volunteer to help others, they delight in others’ victories and successes, and they are hard-working friends. When we spot such teaching talent, we must nurture and encourage it, help it to mature, and direct it toward pathways to becoming an effective educator. We must polish those young, talented teacher treasures so they may push the next generation of students into a future in which they too can do what they do best.

Teachers can weave critical thinking, planning, organizing and problem-solving skills into their teaching and that means pushing pupils out of their comfort zones so they see and experience the world differently. Believe in students’ potential because teachers’ success begins with the success of their students.