It’s Monday. It’s the fifth day of October. It’s the international teachers day. It’s a day with is marked amidst a war. A war with an invisible enemy. An enemy that came with lightning and thunder. One that came to steal, kill and destroy. An enemy that ruined plans, cancelled flights, wounded hearts, changed lives, bruised egos and raised questions.
This day should not just be marked on the Gregorian calendar by wishes of good will, messages, tweets and flowers but it should be a time to learn on how we can be better teachers.
This article is for that kindergarten teacher who want to be better, it’s for that primary school teacher who wants to achieve more, it’s for that high school teacher who is not comfortable with where they are and it’s for that university lecturer who is in hot pursuit of betterment.
Who is a teacher? A teacher is counsellor, public speaker, advisor, crisis manager, role model, mentor, change maker, disciplinarian and project manager.
A teacher is a blessing to their generation, salt to the earth and light of the world. A teacher is a professional who heals ignorance, artist who shapes destinies and leader who inspires creativity. Doctors save lives, soldiers protect lives, lawyers defend lives but teachers make lives.
To a great extent, it’s fair to say that teachers are the most important people in the society. Everybody came from a teacher. The president, the professor, even teachers came from teachers.
Many a teacher can be ordinary, but very few can be extraordinary. An ordinary teacher teaches just to pay bills, a good teacher teaches to share knowledge, a great teacher teaches because they are passionate about teaching but an extraordinary teacher teaches to make the world a better place.
Difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just extra. What is this extra in this perspective?
Extraordinary teachers communicate expectations to their students. These are teachers who encourage their students and telling them what they believe they can achieve. They are always in constant communication with the student. These teachers are not feared by the students, but the students respect them. They are always inspiring the students and telling them that KCPE marks don’t matter in high school.
Extraordinary teachers are organised. If you want your student to be organised, your desk should also be organised. If you want the locker of your student to be well arranged, your dressing code should also be at par. These teachers lead by example. You can’t be the HOD of GNC yet when schools close you are calling the same students discussing unethical issues on phone for hours.
Extraordinary teachers are learners. These teachers have mastered the art of ‘nemo dat quod non habet’ which is a Latin phrase that means ‘you can’t give that which you don’t have.’ These teachers are constantly learning. They learn from their past results, evaluate the mistakes they made the previous year so as not to attain the set goals, they read books widely to have knowledge, and also learn from others.
Extraordinary teachers don’t forget their kids. It’s a joke in heaven and a disaster on earth when you help other people’s children get ‘A’s and go to campus yet your siblings and cousins are getting ‘D’s in KCSE. I don’t mean to be cynical but even the holy book says ‘love your neighbour like yourself.’ That means you can’t love someone’s kid yet you’ve not loved yours at first. You can’t love someone else yet you don’t love yourself.
Extraordinary teachers excel their careers. Come on teachers! You’ve been having that undergraduates degree for 10 years and you don’t even think about having a masters? What happened to career growth and development?
Extraordinary teachers don’t manage time, they make time. They don’t fight with the teacher entitled to design the lessons timetable over less time allocation for their subjects but they are always making time to do whatever they want to do for the success of the students.
Extraordinary teachers know that results don’t originate from the classroom, but from the staffroom. Even if they are taken to low performing schools, the schools performance goes up. These teachers have the DNA of success within them. It’s deeply embedded inside their veins. Their talks are all about academic success, they live and dream success. All they think is how will my subject mean move from of 6.2 to 8.5 or from a mean of 55 to 68 for the primary brethren. They know that academic success is not about the size of the school but size of the goals of the school. The goals of the school are not made by the students, they are made by the teachers.
Extraordinary teachers are always preparing for retirement. They don’t wait to reach 55 to start panicking about retirement, they start preparing for it at 30. Over a staggering 70% of Government employees are not prepared for retirement. Remember, proper planning is necessary. Refuse to retire, accept to refire.
Extraordinary teachers don’t just focus on syllabus coverage but content mastery. Without loosing meaning, I am not downgrading the importance of syllabus coverage. But with what does it benefit to finish syllabus yet no content has been mastered by the student?
Extraordinary teachers are after progress, not perfection. They know that there is no school which did their first national exam and got promoted to be a national school. They are always putting systems and cultures which help the school to move to the next level. They are hungry and greedy for the success of their school.
Extraordinary teachers have an extra source of income. These people are serial entrepreneurs. They are thriving while others are surviving. Their holes never run dry. These people shall never want because they have enough. They are winners. They understand that there is no wealthy person who depends on one source of income. They know that money is suffering from homelessness and yet they decided to offer shelter to it. They understand that wealth is transferred and poverty is a result. These teachers understand that the poor spend money, the middle class save money and the rich invest money. These teachers have come to the conclusion that entrepreneurship is about generating and monetising an idea, creating and solving a problem and making a keeping a customer.
Teachers, you’re designed for accomplishment, engineered for success and endowed with seeds of greatness. You are the master of your fate, captain of your soul, owner of your future, manager of your decisions and drawer of your curve. You can be extraordinary, it’s possible!
If one school can do then yours can do better, and if no school does then yours must do!
Stop being an average teacher who produces average students with average grades who go to average universities to do average courses then get average jobs and marry average partners then get get average kids and then the the cycle begins again!! No!! The success of your students lies in your hands, the parents have entrusted you to make their boys to be men and their girls to be ladies of substance.
Teacher, remember success brings more success. Go get that success. Don’t stop the metamorphosis. Don’t look down upon yourself because of the mean score of your school. Principal, don’t feel shy because your school was number last in the sub county. You will raise from the laughing stock to the benchmark. Don’t judge yourself based on your situations. Don’t despise yourself in the name of your your circumstances. Don’t allow your problems to define you. Don’t call yourself what people of the world are calling you. Remember, you are the child of God. You are a winner. You are a warrior. You’re a conquer. You’re a limited version. You’re very important in the society. You are blessed. You are unstoppable. You are not a common man. You’re not an ordinary man.
This is the epitome of success, the taste of winning, the aroma of succeeding and the promise of the founders.
Do you have what it takes to be an extraordinary teacher?
May God be with you, bless you, protect you, enlarge your territories, help you in making right decisions and give you the desires of your heart.
I respect you teachers. I am who I am today because of you. Happy International Teachers’ Day.
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