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Teaching is among the most challenging careers one can ever choose. Career experts assert that teaching as a career is an all-round profession. Teaching can be frustrating, tiring, exciting, demanding, fulfilling, exhilarating, and rewarding. By choosing to teach, one has chosen to make a difference in the lives of children, youth, adult, and the old members of the society. Teaching starts from the time that innocent child steps into the kindergarten with the urge of knowing what this world has in store for him/her. A teacher should be ready to help that child learn how to read, write, solve a mathematics problem, and discover what life is all about. In addition to this, the teacher has the mandate of ensuring that the learning process goes on concurrently. Note that a teacher will determine the future of a child depending on the foundation he/she gets while in pre-school. Unlike past teachers who had to grapple with limited resources, limited opportunities, conflicting expectations, and limited autonomy; the current crop of teachers has everything at their disposal. What they have to do is device proper ways of using these resources for the betterment of their careers and develop the students as well.
Marsh (2008) argues that teaching as a profession has undergone immense changes over the past 40 years. Gone are the days when a teacher would enter a class room with two degrees, little knowledge on learning technicalities and disabilities, and no behavior management skills. The 21st century teacher should understand the learning environment in which he/she operates. Before joining this profession, one should be ready to spend over 50 hours per week on teaching duties, which include teaching, grading papers, non-compensated school related activities, fund raisers, supervision, and phone calls at home. Moreover, one should be ready to teach an average of 25 pupils at the preschool level, 30 at high school and 50 at post-secondary level. You might be pursuing the wrong profession if you are not ready to work with young people. Over 75% of a teacher’s life is spent in school and class where the youth are common.
The 21st century teacher should work professionally; this can only be achieved if the teacher wins over the hearts of the students. It should be understood that present-day pupils and students are highly informed. Teachers should be able to use a variety of teaching and learning strategies because they understand the brains and a myriad of ways to reach students (Whitton, 2004). It has been proven that students understand more when they share ideas among themselves and therefore, the teacher should form small groups where students can share ideas. Using real-life example will help students comprehend and digest what a teacher is saying; this can only be achieved if the teacher is constantly researching in his/her subject domain. Don’t just sit and observe the group discussions, an outstanding teacher would engage in the ongoing conversation by providing professional opinion on what the students have developed by themselves. A serene learning environment should be created; therefore, teachers are called upon to ensure that students feel like they are cared for. This will motivate them, and thus students would work hard and feel like going to school every morning (Whitton, 2004).
Teachers are encouraged to be skillful and authentic when developing learning resources, not only will this culture be instilled in the students, but to the greater education community as well. An excellent teacher should demonstrate his/her teaching skills; this will develop trust and respect within the students. Students will not take your instructions seriously when your professionalism is questionable. A teacher can surpass this by being aware of current events, social conditions, and advances in technology. The world is changing rapidly as far as technology is concerned. A teacher might find him/herself in an awkward situation if a well informed student asks a technical question. Teachers are therefore advised to be on the lookout for matters pertaining technology.
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