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The path to success: Teaching and learning are all about the journey

The path to success: Teaching and learning are all about the journey

In the first half of this article – The ‘Nev Mars’ effect – I alluded to how I was inspired to study languages by my teacher, not because he was a brilliant, effec­tive, disciplined practitioner, but because he touched my heart and inspired me to love the subject he was teaching.


Monday 3 June 2019, 02:00PM

The joy of journeying. Photo: BISP

The joy of journeying. Photo: BISP

You can read the story here.

At the end of the piece, I asked: What is it that makes an inspiring and effec­tive teacher in this day and age? I will attempt to answer that question here.

There is a well-known meme which has done the rounds on social media. A teacher is pondering: Am I getting better at teaching or just lowering my expecta­tions? That is a pertinent question and encourages us to look closely at a cur­rent buzzword in UK education circles at present: accountability. Teachers are accountable to the management of the school, their colleagues, their students, the parents and also to themselves.

A teacher will have good days and bad days. We are on a journey with the children and it is a journey which is not necessarily a joy every day. Sometimes it can be a real slog. The weight of ex­pectations can be daunting. Parents have entrusted us with their most pre­cious possession: their children. Our job is to accompany them on a journey, supporting, cajoling, persuading, en­couraging, pushing and challenging them whenever we can.

Most of a teacher’s workload goes unseen, and the preparations for the journey are as important as the jour­ney itself. Perhaps the most important aspect of this “educational journey” is that all the participants arrive at the destination safely, soundly and togeth­er. No-one is lost on the way or gives up. The participants in the journey help each other to make it to the end.

There will be ups and downs on the journey and lots of challenges, especially in a world that is ever more frenetic and complicated. Teachers need to feel the joy of journeying with their students.

Using a slightly different analogy, the student is the boxer and their parents and teachers are the backup team, the corner men. After each round, it is their job to cool the fighter down, fan them, give them some water and then send them back into the ring fit and strong enough to face the next round.

In a world where everyone is becom­ing more and more accountable through facts, figures and social media, teach­ers need to find a way of avoiding these shackles and focus on what is important in the classroom: helping their students make progress in their learning.

I love my job because I go to work every morning with the excitement of never knowing what lies ahead. If I can make a positive difference to a young learner which helps them to become a better person in any way, if I touch someone’s heart – “the place where in­tellect, emotion, spirit and will converge in the human self” – then I will have achieved something worthwhile.

– Chris Greene

Chris Greene is the Head of Modern Languages at British International School, Phuket – BISP. For more infor­mation, visit them at www.bisphuket.ac.th or call +66 (0) 76 335 555.

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