What makes a good Teacher?

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What makes a good Teacher?

By Daniel O. Balogun

Every teacher has a message, but a good teacher has a unique language that helps student understand the message.
There are 3 key factors that make up the language of a good teacher:

1- Passion:
Every teacher’s mission is to teach, but passion makes a good teacher. Passion is the food of the soul; it generates a spark that re-illuminates a teacher’s purpose and mission. It endows a teacher with the power to communicate with unbridled enthusiasm, sincerity and authenticity. When a teacher is passionate about teaching, the passion helps the teacher see what others cannot see in their students. The insight inspires and influences the teacher to come up with creative ideas that help the student get into the subject.

Passion is that thing that wakes you up with an energized excitement and a burning desire to do what you love to do. I think one question that should distinguish a good teacher from an ordinary teacher is, “Will you still be a teacher if no one is willing to pay you a salary?” Actually, we can use this question to evaluate our passion for any chosen career or endeavor. Yes, we all need to earn a living, but we don’t want to be lost earning a living

2- Communication:
Every teacher speaks in their class, but good teachers communicate-open communication. Open communication creates a dialogue atmosphere that helps the teacher understand the language of the student. There is always a big conflict when students don’t understand the language of the teacher and the teacher doesn’t understand the language of the students. Open communication can bridge this barrier.  Having a freedom of communication with students beyond subject matter makes the class interesting and brings the student into the subject with the teacher appealing to the best in them.
Open communication helps the teacher to get the quiet and reserved students to participate and become active member of the class.

A good teacher understands that he or she is not just dealing with human figures, but with human minds.  Most times, students come to class with different state of mind due to personal issues, and this is no teacher’s fault, but a good teacher studies the atmosphere, understands the emotional tension and uses the power of open communication to get the student’s attention. With open communication, a good teacher can get the knowledge (information) into the student in an understandable way in one hour than an ordinary teacher would do in ten hours.

3- Inspiration:
A good teacher has the ability to inspire and motivate his or her students, ginger aspiration in them by sharing success stories and life experiences. These awaken the sleeping potentials and giants in the students. Why do teachers need to inspire their students? I believe what water is for agriculture, education is for the vitality of a nation. Therefore teachers are nation builders. They build nations by inspiring their student, with-in subject matter and beyond subject matters. These success stories and experiences stay with the students even after the teacher is gone, and it helps them to put the extra effort needed to be their best.

In conclusion, a good student makes a good teacher. Everybody loves to see the result of their labor. The result of a good teacher is not salary, but ultimately a good student.



Dancing to our Own Anthem

While sitting by the window of my apartment on the evening of October 1st, 2012, with a beautiful view of the Airport-link sky train station and the BTS line train station (Picture below) across my place, I noticed something amusing. This might be of interest to you to know that once its 8:00am or 6:00pm in Thailand, the national anthem comes up on speakers at public places like malls and train stations. While I was beholding the troops of people coming off from both stations and walking down the intersected aisle from different direction, towards each other. In a twinkle of an eye there was a sudden silence. Everybody stopped walking and stood still, and my mind was in a state of coma, rebooting under a second, I knew the national anthem just came on. As I stylishly glanced through the dimension of the pause, thinking about the law of motion, I immediately thought of times when I had been in a rush, running late for a meeting, and suddenly out of the blue the anthem came on. I never wanted to stop as it’s not mandatory, but the harsh and blunt looks I got from people sometimes automatically puts my motion to rest. Anyway, I don’t need to stop this time, as I was sitting still already; moreover, I was in my house so no pressure or intimidation from anyone. Basically, the amusing thing I noticed was that I could hear the anthem playing from both different ends of the stations, one very clearly and the other not so clear. After a minute or two, the people from the BTS station proceeded walking towards the people from the Airport link that stood still. I was thinking, why are these set of people walking pass (Opposite direction) the other set from airport-link while they were still standing stiffed? Then I realized that the anthem from the BTS had stopped, but the Airport-Link hadn’t.

The day has dawned to celebrate another independence day of a great nation, its 52nd independence indeed. Maybe I could have written another tantalizing poem, one my mind wasn’t ready for, but the occurrence, as I sat by my window inspired me and called out these thoughts in me. I must say that I’ve read loads of Facebook status from Nigerians who don’t see any reason for celebration; likewise I’ve read status of people who are so pumped up for celebration and showed some patriotism by changing their profile picture to the ever waving green white green flag. Celebration or no celebration, home or abroad, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, military or civilian, young or old, regardless of our situation, position or our location,  I think the question we Nigerians need to ask ourselves is, where do we stand? Seems we’re all standing still while we dance in our mind to an anthem which lyrics are composed by some few, and the beat and sound are composed by us. Actually, anthems are not meant to be danced to, so when we stand, it’s sign of our respect, our dignity, our values and identity, but in Nigeria we dance to our own anthem(not the literal national anthem). We forget that as human, our souls only dance to the beat and sound playing within our hearts. Corruption we have danced to for too long and it has left our system shattered, mediocrity we’ve danced to for too long and it has clouded our mind, traditions that are unproductive we’ve danced to for too long and it has turned our land barren, values that kill creativity we’ve danced to for too long and it has crippled our potentials, but it seems we’re all tired of dancing with our mind as our spirits, souls and bodies wear us out. Yes we all know that both the lyrics and beat of our anthem is diluted, and we’re becoming more ashamed to sing it out loud, though we’re still dancing to it while the world leaves us behind in our abundance of natural and human  resources. We want to get it right, right? I wish we would rather settle to have it right or never have it. This is the Nigeria spirit, if we can’t do it right, we better do it anyhow, but anyhow hasn’t and won’t take us anywhere so we better get it right, right now.  If we’re ever gona move forward, we better stop playing and dancing to the old anthem. We better redefine ourselves starting from our homes.  We better come together in unity and in love to compose a new anthem…One that we all wana stand to with pride and not dance to in shame. Change begins when people start hearing the voice of change within them. I know some Nigerians are awaken to the voice of change within them and they are not afraid to let it out of their mouth with wisdom, they are not afraid to do it the right way even when the system is against it, yes they are not afraid! I was moved recenlty when I listened to our finance minsiter,  Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Minister of Agriculture, Akin Adesina discussing at Clinton Global Initiative held in New York City, quite impressed by their wisdom and their strategy for change. While some are awaken to the voice within, they are only humming it, but the best thing humming does is to create an echo. We can’t afford to stand still to our own anthem, shake our head, and just hum without singing from our heart. We’ve got to let it out. When we let it out, our voice, anthem and action become forces of change. Even those in the desert won’t be left behind. Have you wondered about the effect of rain?  Rain could either have a positive or negative effect; it can pour and water the seed of a hard working farmer or pour causing flood and destroying the home of a poor farmer. We all are like a rain. We all have something to pour out into our world. How we want to, the measure we want to, the area we want to, determines the effect we would have, either positive or negative one!

We may be hearing the same thing, but we hear it differently, because it’s coming from different direction. Just as what we are hearing matters, also, the direction(where) it’s coming from also matters. If we are hearing from the wrong direction, this might cause a major delay to our progress.

Happy Independence Day fellow compatriots

ImageThanks for reading!

Daniel Olatunde Balogun (D.O.B)