For teenagers aged between 15 to 18, what is the most important to the teacher?
1)the ability to help students plan for future
2)the ability to recognize which student needs help and offer that help
3)the ability to encourage students to learn on their own outside of the classroom
Secondary education can be one of the most formative experiences in a person’s life. What qualities make a good high school teacher? People might go for abilities like helping with future planning or encouraging academic autonomy. I, however, believe that the most important factor is the ability to recognize students in need and the willingness to lend a hand.
The first beneficiary is underachievers. More often than not, students who fall behind suffer from a low self-esteem. It is especially true for teenagers who find it a disgrace to lose face in front of their peers. In this case, they would stay under the radar and try to bury their problems in the dark. Nobody would even notice, not to mention offering any help. However, a teacher with a perceptive mind can discover the problem before it gets worse, so that the troubled kid could get proper help. Let’s say a boy whose parents are going through a nasty divorce may show up late at school or miss the deadline for science projects. If the teacher can spot his recent anomaly and reaches out to him, the boy might open up and confide to the teacher. This is the first step on the road to recovery and an attentive teacher makes all the difference.
Moreover, this valuable quality would rub off on students as well. Instead of lecturing them about helping others, teachers set a better example by practicing what they preach. Seeing the teacher shows compassion and kindness to a kid from disadvantaged background, children are more likely to follow suit and learn to empathize. In contrast, if the teacher is always aloof, school bullies will then pick on the troubled kid. It is because when teachers don’t even bother to care, kids would pick up a wrong message that being indifferent is the best policy. What would them turn into when reaching adulthood? Self-centered. Or even worse, mean and bitter. So it takes a sharp mind to spot trouble and a warm heart to get children out of.
Sure, it is not to say other qualities are trivial. Future career planning offers students some insight into job prospects and college majors. And students would better adjust to college life if they are trained to learn on their own outside of the classroom. But I wouldn’t say such qualities assume more power than an empathetic heart. Why? High schoolers aged 15 to 18 have very vague ideas about their interests and aspiration. That’s why people even take a gap year to figure it out. So why bother planning in such early stage of life while so much remains uncovered and unexplored? As for the ability to encourage learning autonomy, let’s face it, children have been doing this all the time! Since the advent of Internet, children have been drawn to a variety of search engines and websites, which stimulate self-governed learning in a way no teacher can possibly compare to. But the ability to relate to troubled students and lead them out of the woods is in high demand and cannot be replaced.
To sum up, to benefit high school students to a greater extent, the teachers have to be able to recognize what’s going wrong and what can be done to make it right. Other characters can be good to have, but also fine to live without.