This essay aims to determine whether or not teaching is more than acquiring a set of skills. No doubt teaching requires certain skills but I think a caring, dedicated and positive personality suits the profession best. Firstly I am going to discuss what teaching is. We often ask ourselves “how” we are going to teach this or “what” the purpose for teaching this is. However as parker J. Palmer (1998) said “seldom, if ever do we ask the “who” question – who is the self that teaches?” Secondly I will discuss the acceptable and favourable traits of a teacher in our society today and many years ago. As Mark K Smith (2015) said “Education can be described as the wise, hopeful and respectful cultivation of learning undertaken in the belief that all should have the chance to share in life”. Thirdly I want to review home-schooling and whether a degree is necessary to become a teacher. I also want to zone in on the skills a teacher requires and the impact those skills have on one’s life.
What is teaching? In my opinion teaching is the complex process of attending to people’s needs, experiences and feelings. Teaching is also the act of sharing knowledge and experiences with the class so as to develop them into responsible adults. The art of teaching aims to transform and grow student’s intelligence along with their moral development. It is vital that the act of teaching is understood as Paul Hirst (1975) concluded, “being clear about what teaching is matters vitally because how teachers understand teaching very much affects what they actually do in the classroom”. Teaching must have a focus and the teacher should be clear on what they want the students to achieve. Through research it is evident that clear learning intentions help keep students on track and become more productive (John Hattie 2009). If teachers understand their profession then no doubt their students will be successful. Teaching is certainly a slow process. It most definitely takes students time to come around to the fact that they must engage in classroom activities in order to broaden their learning. Failing to attend to students’ feelings and experiences is very problematic- it admits a basic lack of respect for the students. Teaching is also a process of careful timing. It is pointless exploring a topic if the students are not ready. This is why it is vital that student’s experiences are understood. Recent founding’s in the brain science sector have revealed that people learn from experience from the time in the womb (Lieberman 2013). Therefore brining students’ experiences around the subject we are looking to teach is central to the learning process. Teaching is also the provision of stimulus to the psychological and intellectual growth of a person. The aim of teaching is to grow students morally and intellectually and give students a path to reach their goals.
Who is a teacher? In my opinion a teacher is anyone who is willing to give up their time to teach others valuable life learning lessons. The teacher shapes the future of every learner that passes through their space by providing the best education possible. Teachers are the builders of the dazzling future of our nation through education. In my experience teachers go above and beyond their duties to ensure that their learners receive the best education. A worthy teacher knows the ability of each and every student in their class and tries for them accordingly. A teacher is someone who has supported knowledge about a certain subject or a variety of subjects. They also understand how students think about a subject and identify common misconceptions. Good teachers “have deep knowledge of the subjects they teach, and when teachers’ knowledge falls below a certain level it is a significant impediment to students’ learning” (Coe et. al. 2014). Obviously it would be exceptional if a teacher knew everything about his/her subject but that type of teacher is a rarity. Luckily there are many resources available today to allow teachers to inform their students with accurate information. It is evident that expertise in a subject is not everything once the teacher has passion for the subject, reliable sources to draw upon and wants the best outcome for the learners. As John Hattie (2009) concluded “It is difficult to find evidence that great expertise in the subject matter makes a significant difference within a lot of schooling”. To conclude a teacher is a great source of knowledge, prosperity and enlightenment to which anyone can benefit from.
Do you need a degree to teach? As I have stated above I believe a teacher is anyone who can inform someone with concrete knowledge without viewing it as a chore. However to teach a group of learners about a specific subject I think the teacher ought to have obtained a third level degree regarding the subject on hand. Firstly the student teacher must secure an undergraduate teacher education degree in accordance with The Teaching council. This degree takes between four and six years depending on which route you choose to take. During this time the student teacher will obtain necessary skills required to meet the needs of their future students. These skills include a creative mind-set to cater for the different needs of students, patience and confidence. On the other hand, teaching demands more than just a set of skills. It is throughout these years that student teachers will encounter different experiences which help them to become better teachers. John Dewey (1938) recognised that student teachers have experience in the classroom but this varies greatly with each student. His aim was to give students more experience in the classroom so as to expand their thinking on traditional teaching methods within the classroom. Ron Clark preserved Dewey’s thinking and expanded on it. Clark’s goal was to create a revolution to help students achieve success academically and in their lives in general (Ron Clark, 2011). He noted that more experienced teachers were able to “create a positive, expressive, and enthusiastic learning environment for all students” (Ron Clark, 2011). This classroom setting allows students to feel an ease while being devoted to learning. I think discipline plays a vital role in the teaching process. I don’t think this is a skill that can be taught. No degree could prepare someone for teaching both children and adolescents. Some student teachers struggle with implementing discipline in the classroom but it is critical as without direction the class will not succeed. Through investigating Clark’s book I have noted that the key idea is to “create a culture with high levels of discipline, manners and respect” (The Ron Clark Academy, 2018). Creating an atmosphere like this within the classroom is not a skill that can be acquired. It’s a natural element within someone. This paragraph employs that a degree is necessary by law to teach but there is certainly more to becoming a teacher than obtaining a degree.
On the contrary, how do those who are home schooled view teaching? Home-schooling is a type of education where children learn outside of a school setting under the supervision of their parents. The family determines what is to be learned and how it is to be taught. Some families choose to home-school their children as they place a great emphasise on family time and being together. Some parents also choose home-schooling as a method of eliminating stress from their Childs life. However this makes it difficult for home taught children to deal with the stresses of the workplace and everyday life. In Ireland the law does not define a “certain minimum education”. However there are certain guide lines that are advised you follow. The number of children registered as being home-schooled in 2018 was 1,434 compared to 439 in 2008. Nonetheless there are positives to being home-schooled. It may create a stronger bond between parent and child as the parent learns alongside the child. Instead of memorizing definitions and formulas you can provide a learning rich environment in your home. It also enables children to take responsibility for their own learning at an early age which is admired in later years. However I think those learners are at a disadvantage once they go into the workplace. It is often spoke about by critics how they have poor interpersonal and communication skills. It has been confirmed by recent research in neuroscience that “our brains are wired to connect”, therefore we are wired to be social (Lieberman 2013). Those who are being home-schooled don’t get a fair opportunity to connect with others outside their family. This can be a detriment to the connection they feel within society. But how effective is your parent as your teacher? In my opinion a parent usually fulfils the materialistic requirements of a child in a constructive manner so he or she transforms into a productive and responsible adult. To conclude I don’t think home schooling your children is the correct approach to learning. You most definitely require a certain set of skills and a unique personality to become a teacher.