An Exemplary Teacher

Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip *

 Picture of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan at the Teacher's Day Celebration by Edn(S) Govt of Manipur on Sep 05 2009
Picture of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan at the Teacher's Day Celebration by Edn(S) Govt of Manipur on Sep 05 2009


Down the centuries, many teachers have risen and gone by but the profession of teaching continues. In the modern age, teachers and teaching profession may have lost the lustre and respect they had earlier. But one cannot conceive a profession without teachers. A great teacher is one a student remembers and cherishes forever. Teachers have long-lasting impacts on the lives of their students, and the greatest teachers inspire students toward greatness.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the first Vice President (1952) and second President (19621967) of India said, "When we think we know we cease to learn." When he became President, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, 5 September. He replied, "Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if 5 September is observed as Teachers' Day" as "teachers should be the best minds in the country".

His birthday has since been celebrated as Teachers' Day in India. Its also a fitting day to say thank you to our teachers (daddy, mummy, gurus). If you happened to be called out in the middle of the market, bus-stand, hospital etc by someone who introduces himself/herself as 'once upon a time your student', you probably affected that person's life in the positive. Thank God.


Titus 2:7-8 "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us."

James 3:1-2 "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body."

Deuteronomy 32:2 "May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distil as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb."

Proverbs 1:1-33 "The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth. Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance."

Romans 12:6-7 "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching."

Hebrews 5:12 "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food."

Matthew 23:8 "Don't let anyone call you 'Rabbi,' for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.

Matthew 10:24 "The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.


Focuses on educational needs of the students, Enthusiastic about work and about teaching, Encourages and appreciates diversity, Does not stereotype or speak negatively of others, Communicates effectively with others, input from others, listening deeply and giving credit for their contributions, Motivates students and co-workers, Encourages students to achieve their goals, Provides constructive feedback, Brings a wide range of skills and Teaching is clearly presented that stimulates high-order thinking skills, Presents difficult concepts comprehensibly.

Interpersonal Rapport: Fosters Atmosphere to Learn, Interaction inside class, Interaction outside class, Availability, Personally connecting with student: (e.g., learning names).

Promotion of learning: "Mere possession of scientific knowledge without the ability to apply it is of limited value in nursing practice," wrote one nurse educator. Equally important was their shared view that promoting learning goes beyond content acquisition. Education is also about personal development, and teachers have a role in promoting that kind of learning as well.

Teachers as learners: Failing to learn is failing to grow. An out-dated knowledge is brushed aside. An out-dated teacher is unwanted. These exemplary teachers described themselves as learners, each making it a priority to keep their teaching current. "As teachers, we must continue to re-engineer our curriculum, experiment with new and different methods of delivering course content, and bring emerging technologies into our classrooms." These teachers value opportunities to revise course content, to teach new courses, and to work on degree-program curricula. Having knowledge of a subject area and teaching techniques basic, but the exemplary teachers, "continually engage in professional development, thus presenting and considering themselves as 'lifelong learners' who value the learning process itself." They discuss their "perpetual renewal of knowledge" with enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm: "Effective teaching presupposes a command of the material and facility in communicating it with clarity, grace, fairness, and humour. But most of all it supposes enthusiasm." This enthusiasm starts with a love of the content, but it goes beyond that and includes a genuine love of teaching and a passion for students and their learning. "I am also concerned that my students develop a passion for learning that goes on well after the course has ended. Also, the teachers stay professionally enthusiastic through a "reward orientation." They are rewarded when students exhibit understanding and achieve their goals. "It appears," say the researcher, "that great teaching is inspired by the simple, yet beautiful act of one human being touching another through the learning process."

Motivation: The teachers have a strong commitment to their work and to their students. "These teachers not only demand achievement, but they provide opportunities for it. They select appropriate materials, teach the material thoroughly, monitor frequently, provide much feedback to each student, re-teach if necessary, and are especially careful to ensure student success on new materials or individual work." They express expectations verbally and clearly. The teachers are committed to students outside of class.

Not only do they get involved in students' activities, but they "sacrifice their personal time in order to be accessible to their students who need more guided instruction." The teachers establish personal goals and determine a course of action for attaining them. The teachers have what the researchers call an "integrated perception" of students-they view them as "whole individuals operating in a broader context beyond the classroom."

Interpersonal Skills: The teachers' routines are carefully patterned to prevent disruptions; they have a variety of "preventive maintenance" behaviors. When disruptions do occur, "these teachers approach the problem objectively and methodically." The teachers are "active listeners." The most common technique is paraphrasing, restating students' responses with phrases like "Are you saying that...?" The teachers also "listen" on paper, sensitive to nuances in students' writing. And they are sensitive to the mood of a class or individual. Teachers build rapport with students by showing them respect, treating them fairly, and trusting them. They show empathy by being able to "perceive the thoughts and emotions of their young, teenage students." They are warm and caring and set high expectations "by laying well-planned paths to success for their students."

Cognitive Skills: The teachers have individualized perceptions of their students. They try to find out about them as individuals, "diagnose their needs and learning styles, and then incorporate that knowledge into planned instructional activities." The effective teaching strategies used by the teachers include skilful and enthusiastic teaching; well-organized courses; student-centered style; careful monitoring and evaluating; a structured, yet flexible, approach; and active involvement of students. The teachers are deeply involved with their classes. To win over students, good teachers use a combination of techniques, and for them, "no two days are alike."

Innovation: "Innovation is what distinguishes a leader from a follower" (Steve Jobs). The teachers actively see innovation. "Our teachers talk animatedly about change to improve students' learning and bout taking risks in an attempt to find and adopt new approaches to enhance teaching effectiveness," according to the researchers. In addition, the teachers "take time to reflect on the changes they propose and avoid change for the sake of change." These findings convey a significant set of expectations for the professional preparation of teachers-expectations that are poorly articulated in too many teacher preparation programs.


The students say, "Teacher, your action is so loud, I cannot hear your words". If teaching is not a passion, that now-teacher should not pollute this noble profession of teaching. A life-less body creates fear, a life-less teacher is a boredom. In this state, teaching-learning process is minimum. A reflective teacher is an asset. An exemplary teacher is a leader, a support-system and hand to hold by. May teaching be a profession of love (for the future of students) and not love for the remuneration. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan believed that "teachers should be the best minds in the country". We hope and pray that the manifesto of BJP that "public spending on education would be raised to 6 percent (approx. Rs. 7.5 lakh crore) of the GDP, and involving the private sector would further enhance this".

* Rev Fr Paul Lelen Haokip wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao and The Sangai Express
The writer is Principal, Sacred Heart School, Yairipok.
This article was posted on September 05, 2014.

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