The Good Teacher

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Not all teachers are equal, and not all students desire to learn. From ancient times the relationship between teacher and student was considered to be an important one. If the time spent at school is taken into account, a student may spend more than half of his or her waking hours at the school. Up to a third of that time is in a direct interactive way with their teachers. In all of history one name comes to mind when contemplating the greatest of teachers.

Aristotle lived from 384 BC to 322 BC and he was a Greek philosopher as well as a polymath. He was a student of Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings covered many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Plato was the teacher of Socrates, and without Plato, Aristotle would not have become one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy, that he is today. If Plato was a bad teacher or if Aristotle had been a bad student, then history would be very different from what it is today. Think of what this would have meant for Alexander the Great as a student of a bad student of a poor teacher! Would Alexander have been so great?

Aristotle's views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance period, although they were ultimately replaced by Newtonian physics. In the zoological sciences, some of his observations were confirmed to be accurate only just at the beginning of the 19th century! So it stands to reason that had Aristotle become a bad student, not only would Alexander not have been quite so great, but perhaps there never would have been a "Sir Isaac Newton"! Aristotle's works contain the earliest known records of the formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into "modern formal logic". If Aristotle and Plato had lived in a system of education such as the current educational model in use today, many of the benefits of education might not have come into existence, and things would be much worse. In this way the educational models must be constructed to consider the future potential of the great minds to come.

Not every teacher knows how to teach every student. It is the student's job to show up on time for class and attempt to learn through the graduated conditioning that they have been instructed to learn under from Kindergarten to grade 12. If a student hasn't learned how to properly learn by the time they reach college, the system has most likely failed them in some way. Teachers as well as students are currently swimming upstream against a system of education that is corroding at the edges. The river bank of scholastic achievement is crumbling and the waters of higher learning are muddily producing less than exceptional product. In the fray of the battle to save the "good students", faculties and departments are blaming the systematic problems upon the bad students and even teachers who are not holding their end up. At the end of the day however, no matter how many others are blamed, it will be said that "there is just another student "who couldn't be reached" by all those educated fellows and ladies, who get paid to teach things to people.

In today's world every aspect of life is measured, assessed, and given a rating of some kind. Is there any question that the profession of teaching and in a more general sense, education, be treated the same way and evaluated? Students are always looked upon by society as "someone's children", while teachers are often demonized, as if the weight of the educational issues rests solely upon their shoulders. It does not. There have been many students throughout history who in some sense have had "bad experiences "in school". It becomes too easy to blame teachers alone for this problem. Governing bodies must begin to accept more responsibility for their hiring and screening practices. It should not be quite so easy to merely put the blame upon teachers already in the system, for the learning disabilities of their students. It is also not a good "solution" to merely blame the student either for not being "interested in their lessons".

There are indeed bad students! There are also a few great teachers, just not enough of them to make up for a system that is weighted towards economics over learning. It wouldn't take any long tedious study to prove that money can't buy a successful education. Without the values of application and interest being priorities; without proper role models, no new Aristotle's, Plato's or Newton's will arrive to teach in the Universities. Not taking into consideration those students with learning disabilities, who need to be taught by teachers "trained specially" to deal with such disabilities, the current system of education is flawed. It can only be said that there are students and teachers, who truly do not wish to be in the education system at all. Many of these "bad students" should be realized to be disinterested in not merely the courses but also in learning in general, and perhaps even with school altogether. Forcing and manipulating a child to learn against their will, when they really want to be rock stars and actors, makes them "bad students", and no amount of "good teachers" or proper method is going to sway the mind of a resistant "student".

As a side note, any teachers who can teach grade five English but not effectively teach grade two math, it could be argued, has no business teaching any higher level than grade two. The rationale behind this type of thinking is that in order to reach and influence their charges, "the good teachers", offer their students not only an appropriate lesson but also the benefit of their competence! The influence of teachers of varied and diverse levels of understanding should never go unnoticed, and should any teacher wish to teach at a higher level, all of the courses of study must become accomplished.

Believing this to be true, then it must considered, that the system is the main culprit to producing so many "bad students" and teachers. In essence it has not screened hard enough to find those students who truly want to be there, and learn. How can a college or University produce so many unproductive members within its walls when they hire only "the best staff" with the finest credentials? It is simple, the reason the system is failing its students, and teachers, is primarily due to greed. The majority of students in college and University do want to be there, but there is a percentage of the student body that is of a privileged class who have the money, the basic marks and the means to be there, apparently not, however the desire. Instead of taking on a full time job in the parents firm, they choose to spend their days on campus. The Universities and colleges are riddled with students who desire something, but are not quite sure just exactly what that something is. They lack direction and focus, and worset of all, interest. Perhaps if they had the benefit of a Plato or an Aristotle at some earlier point in their education their interest may have been peaked As a general rule most educational facilities do not turn down students with money in their pockets or daddy's and mommies who are willing to bankroll their child, until their child "finds a direction in school", indefinitely if necessary. It is true that the students do have to have minimal grades to get into the programs and this leads to the next problem in the system, which is faculty funneling practices.

If a student doesn't have adequate marks to get accepted into the top faculties such as, engineering, science, medicine, or law, they are permitted to "gradually spiral" towards the lower department disciplines with less distinction on the rungs of the educational ladder. The universities and colleges associate faculty ranking with the dollars that are put into the system by "sponsors" If the top faculties of a learning institution didn't get the sponsor money from the outside sources that they did, they would lose their rating with the university or college, and another faculty would be bumped up in terms of underlying monetary importance to the institution. In a sense students are in a bidding war to obtain an education that is perpetuated by the corporate world. Since the top four faculties of Science, Medicine, Engineering and Law are seemingly cemented by the requirements of the world to have good doctors and lawyers, and the fact that civilization needs its buildings and space programs to stay intact and vital, then it must accepted that money "drives everything", especially education!

As the "bad students" drift through their extended education, and they fall from faculty to faculty, descending ever lower, until they end up at the bottom of the educational system. Students "somehow" find themselves becoming teachers, and the negative cycle repeats itself, because their students will not be gleaning inspiration from these "funneled graduate teachers". The trap is sprung upon students entering the system, wholly unprepared for the structure and expectations of the Universities and Colleges. Unprepared by their teachers who were unprepared by their teachers they spiral down to the less regarded faculties. Anyone with a conscience for future education practices, could not really believe that it is sustainable to keep producing teachers who have neither ability nor ambition to transcend the faculties at the abyss of the faculty universe? How indeed, does a student get the very best chance to succeed in their school lessons, when they are being taught by those who did not aspire to teach in the first place? Who should by their very gifts and potential deserve to be taught by other great men and women of science? This was not the way I am certain, that Aristotle or Plato would have imagined the future of education to end up. Education used to be the highest of the faculties, and commanded the respect of all the others. It is unfortunate to realize that the teachers, the ones who are responsible for all those young bright minds, are operating from a system that permits anyone of the numerous dropouts from the other departments to join their ranks in education. It is no wonder that there are so many "bad students" today.

The system has flaws. Higher learning has become big business. Walk through any University or college and it will become obvious that there is backing of the faculties by the industries that benefit. Many corporations have forged relationships with our higher learning institutions, and they also benefit from the prospects of advancing discoveries within the respective departments, and the waves of new hires of employees and handpicked prospects. In some cases there are whole wings of the school buildings that are "dedicated" by the supporting donor corporation. The money flows both ways within this symbiotic relationship structure, but seemingly only for the benefactors and departments that have merit.

Teaching has lost its genius. Where once there were teachers who could comprehend the lessons of all the disciplines, now there are voids and gaps left within an education system that has become anemically driven by money and corporate wants. The sacredness of the institution of education has become a quagmire of specialists who have no love of the knowledge that they are attempting to pass on. Perhaps someday a light will go on in the halls of higher and lower education, and the faculty that was education, in Aristotle's time will become grand again in the modern era.

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