What the Academe Needs to Consider on Having Teachers

It was teachers' day just a week ago and I've thought of writing down something about this profession. I myself is also a teacher and I'd like to share some of my sentiments as well. I've been teaching in the academe for a year now and I've noticed that as each year passes, out of a hundred graduates, around 10 are only ready to get their hands dirty to the outside world while the majority are still busy still redeeming themselves trying to see what they really want in the future or if not, still unsatisfied from what they learned in college and yet to hone more of their skillsets. Why is that? Regardless of what it is, teachers are part of the equation. So I made a list of points on how the academe should pick their educators and why does it matter. This is an assumption of teaching in college so consider that during your read:

Disclaimer: Everything is based on my experience, knowledge, and beliefs. This may vary on how people really think, the situation, and the environment so don't be a stereotype and more open-minded.

Achievements over Degrees

When I say achievements, I mean achieving whats beyond a degree. Something that's worth more than a piece of paper and something more reliable than a transcript of records. It means that you strived hard to attain something rather than just passing grades. For you to teach college, you need to have a masters degree (at least here in the Philippines that is) for the reason of enhancing your research ability and to have more edge towards your students. Just think, after you get your degree, what now? It's like wasting it for nothing. You have to make the most out of it and that's the reason why its a need for the academe. You study to achieve! You study not just to earn a degree but to apply the things you've learned in life. I know a lot of people who didn't even have a college degree yet, still achieved a lot of things than the degree holder. These bags of tricks are something used to inspire so spread your talent and let everyone know the importance of it. The truth is, we only work for a degree so we could work for a company as a primary requirement but the mere fact that a degree does not guarantee a job is a sign you need to do more not because its a requirement but because you are driven to do it.

Experiences over Textbooks

If you rely too much on the textbook, it means you can’t prove your own mastery. What's the point of having a higher degree if you can’t practice what you preach? Originally, the goal of pursuing masters is to research and prove your theories. If you overlook books, it means something's wrong. Always note that an author is also a human being and people make mistakes. What the author might have written could be wrong even it takes a rigorous process before the book gets published.

*In my case, I’m in the field of technology so definitely what’s known today could be deprecated for the next 2 - 3 years.*

If I were to set standards for hiring teachers, I’d cordially prefer a part-time that works in-parallel with his/her full-time job in the industry rather than a full-time academian having tons of degrees with no proven-driven results. The tendency of having a pure full-time faculty is that after their probationary period, they tend to be complacent and can freely do whatever they want (that includes torturing the students). Sure, we need them for someone to conduct continuous research and handle the department but teaching-wise, there's no more essence to it. There's also no guarantee that he/she might even bother doing research during the course work so expect that it would really phase-out. I mean compared with someone working in-parallel in the industry, it's easy to share experiences as they’re teaching works hand-in-hand with their work and at the same time up-to-date but for full-timers, they’d read out sources from textbooks/PowerPoint templates from the internet. If that's the case, then they can just simply give the students their sources and just call it a day. It defeats their purpose of teaching when in fact, they are just teaching (rather reading out loud) the source, not based on their mastery. Let’s just say the teacher was once working in the industry and decided to go as full-time faculty, that can make sense but in the long run, I don’t think it will do good *points out the essential part a while ago* as things change so easy.

That would be the challenge for full-timers, how would they stand out and teach something that is not part of the curricula’s sources/references? How good are they on becoming out-of-the-box? Because then again, if they’re just gonna copy-paste textbook paragraphs reading it without a compelling story (as reading it aloud is different from reading it with feelings… and by feelings, I mean telling a story from your heart, not your average anger issues), then it's pretty much pointless as you can just simply give the resource (even until the end of the semester), call it a day and practically you can have the urge to never show up until the tallying of grades.

Potential over Grades

Students chase their grades rather than to chase their passion. Having the pressure of achieving a certain grade defeats the purpose of passion. I honestly find this wrong as you can't always force students to learn something they don't like. If you overlook too much on grades, it means you can’t see the students’ true potential. All people have their own strengths and weaknesses so we shouldn't jump to conclusions so easily. A student might be weak in Math but good in English and vice-versa. Each person is special so we should look at their positives than the negatives. Some even fail but managed to get up. People think it's the end of the world when they failed a subject. Always note that failure is always a recipe for success. Having that said, it doesn't mean that you always have to fail. It's not about the number of times you failed but how did you fail? Only you can assess that. As for daily classes, it takes time to master out something and a single day of lecture ain't enough to comprehend it. That's the reason why we should never grade based solely on written/oral performance but also on how you seem them doing their best effort to pass the subject. That's a little subjective but its at least to give a fighting chance for those who are low plus an additional incentive to those who are striving hard. Since that's subjective, you need to understand how they behave in order to understand and have some connections with them by having fun through hanging out or bonding. Not only you can connect with their personal lives but also enjoy them. In that way, they would feel less pressured and have fun on your subject. Imagine if they get excited whenever its the time of your class? Doesn't that feel great? If you don’t know them by heart, you never exist on their sights.

Skill over Seniority

This is my favorite part. The academe would rather hire a person with 10 years of experience with nothing but experience than a person that had more remarkable achievements but with less experience. Personally, age should not be a factor. Even if your a fresh graduate that's willing to teach college, at least be more different by showing them that your brilliance came outside on what the school had to offer because if you don't have anything else besides your undergrad curricula, it doesn't make sense for you to teach as your only teaching your students the 4/5 years of your college life which pretty much doesn't make any difference. If you can’t do your job well then I’d say you ain’t fit.

Another thing that students won't realize is they always have an option to take up a part-time job related to your major as an addition to honing their skills. To be frank, I'd prefer this than enrolling myself with a scholarship because your part-time job can be a greater asset than your OJT experience plus the money you've been earning there can be used to suffice your tuition/daily needs. In the case of a scholar, you need to maintain grades, or else you'll lose your scholarship but in your part-time work, you'll learn the importance of doing deliverables plus there's no pressure on the side of grades. A part-time job is a good starting point to shove off your professionalism. Even though you were offered a non-profit project, its best to accept it as part of your personal development because these are opportunities you don't see every day and money will always have its place when you finally get your cards right.

Even if you're a teacher that has 10 years of experience, if you keep on doing the same thing over and over again since you started teaching, then it's like you still have an experience of a junior. Let's face it, there are a lot of people that can teach better with less than 3 years of experience and this so-called "seniority" is too overrated. It's only just a title so we shouldn't limit ourselves with that. There are even instances that the "senior" can't even solve the first-year problem. Tell me about it.

Motivation over Ego

There’s a fine line between “I love what I’m doing” vs “You have to follow me. I’m the boss”. This is pretty much related to my last point regarding seniority. Teaching with motivation will allow you to deliver properly your content together easily connecting the topic to your audience on the other hand if you think you are a badass person because you can threaten the students of a failing grade, you're not really helping them pursue well.

Inspiration over Torment

Some teachers nowadays are more ongoing after their paycheck and never tend to chase the real objective of their job. Feedback is the best ingredient to success because at the end of the day, its not you who benefits your teachings but the students. Normally, teachers receive an evaluation before the semester ends. These things should be taken seriously rather than skim-scamming it and forget all of the details. If you get positive ones that's great but if not, you need to reflect on how you can improve on it the next time you teach. For starters these are normal but if you're already teaching for a long period of time and still receive a lot of bad feedback, I’d say teaching is not really for you. Sure, you cannot impress everybody as everyone has different personalities but if you satisfied 90% of them, you’re doing well. If your students never approached you after a long period of time, it means you did not inspire them (or inspired enough). Feedbacks should be taken professionally than a personal attack. Students are scared to tell them real feedbacks as their teacher might fail them when they figure out you gave them a bad comment. Its best to deliver it considerably but if they still can't accept those facts, it's their problem.

If students never invited them to their personal invitations (be it org related or personal events), it means they did not connect with their lives. If students never said “thank you”, that means they only did it for the money and to survive the everyday stress.

If you’re a teacher who got butthurt with this article, it means there’s something wrong. If not, then good job! If your not a teacher, hope you'll be aware of this. Please refer to my disclaimer to avoid misunderstandings.

Belated Happy Teachers Day!

teacher quote

Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/259590365995654459/

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  • JudithReply
    July 23, 2016 7:00 AM

    IMHO you’ve got the right anwser!

    • Kristian
      Sep 21, 2016 8:29 AM

      Hello Judith! Great to hear we’re on the same boat 🙂

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