One of the key features that most living organisms share is that of passing on knowledge from one generation to another. This is significant because it not only ensures that a species survives, but also that it will thrive to the extent of how well it is able to preserve this knowledge. In nature, this process paints itself in ways such as a lioness teaching its young cubs on how to hunt, or worker bees teaching the younger bees how to build a hive, or how ants learn to collect and store food. The level at which these processes are made possible depends largely on how developed a species’ brain is. Given that humans have the largest, most complex, and most developed brains, we are able to achieve even greater capacities of learning and information sharing. And over the years, this has been made possible by means like word of mouth, written work, drawings and cave paintings, sound, and even hand and face gestures. However,
if left unchecked, all these means would have been disorganized and eventually… useless. Thus, the different communities from among the human race committed this role to people who we call “teachers” today.
Over the years, many definitions of this word have been formulated. For example, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines teacher as
- “one whose occupation is to instruct”
which explains some synonyms of the word e.g. “instructor” and “trainer”. The Cambridge dictionary defines it as
- “someone whose job is to teach in a school or college"
which points to synonyms like “educator” and “educationist”. Lastly, the Collins dictionary defines the word “teacher” as
For the sake of this article, the two latter definitions will be used.
Teachers as the center of educational systems
From the definitions above and possibly from personal experience, one can tell that teachers are primarily responsible for students’ education. They are at the very core of a student’s experience from the moment they step into the classroom and the moment they leave. Furthermore, the amount and quality of interaction that happens between teachers and students is of uttermost importance, because students spend a huge amount of time in school. For example, according to this article by oecd-ilibrary.org,
students between 7 and 8 years of age, spend around 769 hours per year in mandatory instruction time and 793 hours in intended instruction time. Even more, at only 9 and 11 years of age, students spend 45 more hours than those that are 7 to 8, and 90 hours less than those aged between 12 and 14 years of age.
Despite the fact that this data is only from OECD countries, the expectation is the same for many other places in the world. This is because there is significant similarity in the way educational institutions structure students’ time spent at school. And at the end of the day, the observation is clear: students spend plenty of time around teachers. Not to mention, very young children go through this at a very crucial time in their development, thus implying that teachers could play a huge role in the character, personality and general development of a child.
Teachers as disciplinarians
Moreover, teachers are responsible for disciplinary measures. They get to decide when it is right to reward a student and when it is fitting to punish them instead.
- Positive reinforcement forms of grooming could range from a simple “Good job!” and a smile, to a trophy… and in higher levels of schooling, it could even involve cash prizes.
- On the other hand, punishment ranges from a simple sad face sticker on their exam papers to detention and even suspension from schooling for an allocated period of time.
When, how, and what form of reward or punishment to use is usually left in the hands of teachers (sometimes with a little regulation from the school), hence they really have a grand impact on shaping a student’s behavior.
Teachers as mentors
By the same token, some students could advance and grow in their relationships with teachers, which could potentially lead to a mentoring relationship. At this point, teachers have a direct hand in actively influencing the decisions that a student makes. It could be academic mentoring, spiritual mentoring, and any other form of mentor-mentee relationship that is made possible for them. This is where college counselors and school therapists come in as well. In these relationships,
students are able to communicate with much more freedom and with greater expectations, and in some cases, students could form even stronger relationships with their teachers than with their parents, because they share a lot with their mentors without the fear of being judged.
Teachers that are also mentors carry extra weight in shaping young minds and preparing the next generation of leaders and influencers, so their input is highly valuable.
Teachers as academic instructors
Of course, the best was saved for last, and that is the fact that teachers are responsible for teaching. Some may counter that this is the very least that people expect from teachers as it is their job. Precisely! But this very job that they have is in itself of high importance.
If we didn’t have people set aside and trained just for this role, our education system would be dysfunctional because it is teachers that control the flow and succession of knowledge from one generation to another. That may seem like an exaggeration, yet all the great men and women in the world are a product of the teachers that they had.
In other words, no baby is born knowing how to track and time the stock market, or how to remove a tumor from someone's brain, or how to design and construct roads. All these people that are thriving in their fields did not get there by some magical ability, rather by being held and led by different teachers along their journey.
Therefore, it is evident that the contribution that teachers have in a student's life are crucial. From
- instructing to
- disciplining, and even
the influence that educators could have on children is almost immeasurable. This impact could be either positive or negative depending on the qualities that a teacher has. Great qualities of a good teacher include (but are not limited to) empathy, openness, understanding, patience, and adaptability. With proper training and tools at hand, one could cultivate these skills and be able to serve the future generation better. And that is precisely why Edvora is here!
Edvora is on the path to giving teachers an enriching experience that helps them strive in their profession. We understand the value that teachers have in the society and it is our aim to make sure that they have all the tools necessary to make their lives easier. We believe in bringing about quality education to students by equipping their teachers with opportunities to maximize their capacities in reaching more students and ensuring that they form meaningful and impactful relationships. We also strive to make sure that our platform helps both teachers and students to grow so that these relationships are fostered even in the long run. So, reach out to us at [email protected] and let us know what you think about the value that teachers add into the society and what tools would be necessary to make available to teachers to ensure that their potential is not wasted.