It has been more than 7 years in the field of academics. Over the past several years I’ve taught hundreds of students and have spent countless hours teaching and counselling them. When I’d started my career as teaching, I thought I had all the answers as I was having one professional master degree in my hand. At that time I was so ready to unleash my knowledge on the world. Initially I had no idea that I would learn as much as from my students as they would learn from me. My students are teaching me from past many years and their teachings have reinforced key principles of success in my own life. Their teachings will also serve you well in your journey as you lead and influence in any realm of life.
First impressions are deceptive-I always believe that time has its own way of revealing someone’s true character. The students who seem quite intelligent and confident in the beginning will sometimes end up on academic probation. On the other hand, the students who seem like a slacker will sometimes surprise you with their discipline, sincerity, kindness and creativity.
In our life too, we tend to make snap judgments about people based on their appearance and a few scraps of knowledge about them. Sometimes their impressions turn out to be wrong as we get to know more about them and their stories.
Relationships are more important than degrees-The irony of education is that we academicians spend years earning degrees that give us position. But degrees, certificates or positions don’t guarantee that we will change lives around us. People may respect you for your accomplishments, but they will love you if you invest in relationships. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
It’s important to know what you don’t know-Most teachers will tell you the three hardest words to say are “I don’t know “.As a teacher, we are supposed to have all the answers but true learning is not just about gaining knowledge. It’s about having a curious mind and willingness to transform and grow. It’s about the excitement and determination for finding out the answers. People are tired of the experts who claim to have all the answers. They are looking for guides and counselors who can provide them feedback, direction and motivation.
You need to show tough love sometimes. It’s a human psychology, that we always take advantage of people who are liberal to us. I consider myself a very democratic faculty who tries to maintain a positive, relaxed atmosphere in the classroom. Although I don’t like personal confrontation but at times it becomes essential. So I occasionally throw a student out of my class of being disrupting. Sometimes I don’t give entry to the late comers and refuse students request to turn in late work because they need to learn the importance of discipline in their life. With the advent of social media, students are losing their focus and concentration. I don’t want my students to be serious but they need to be sincere enough in all aspects of their life. So a faculty should try to show grace and tough love depending upon situation. One can’t be always strict and can’t be too lenient all the time.
Take feedback positively- Teachers have to go through one students’ feedback mechanism every year where their students rate them on the basis of some parameters. Since every student has its own way of perceiving performance so sometimes we don’t get good remarks. It happens with most of us so with me too. But if we can set aside our insecurities and take our feedback positively then we can get good insight of ourselves. Teachers should not feel low if not rated favorably but they should try to work upon their weaknesses for their overall development.
Although I’m sure that one can learn many more things from the people around him but these teachings continue to transform my thinking about students. We should always remember that one can never graduate from the classroom of life.