All people have or at least build castles in the air of personalities they admire. They spend a lot of energy and time trying to just be the exact duplicates of these personalities.
Usually this is someone popular and they enjoy looking up to irrespective of their character, appearance and views.
Recently, I gave some students an assignment to write an essay entitled “The Ideal Teacher.”
Later, curious to find out what they said, I started going through their pieces of writing and it was a fascinating experience for me.
I had always assumed that students would rather work with teachers who allow them to do exactly what they wanted or with those who give the fewest assignments and never seemed to mind when students miss classes. But I was wrong!
Unlike today, my school days were different. We loved teachers who came to class late, and only told us to copy notes from a certain text page as they postponed discussions to the next lesson. These lessons, we all knew would never happen because teachers assumed that when we copied notes, we were learning and so there was no need to repeat the lesson.
As I read through the essays, I realised that the students from their writings seriously meant business. Deep down they knew that irresponsible teachers do not add value to their academic life but instead, waste time when they dwell on trivial issues. Authentic teachers, according to these students are those who inspire, encourage, guide and help them to realise their full potential.
This is when I understood that majority of the students want teachers who are good role models, knowledgeable, confident and sincere. For them, these are teachers of integrity whom they can depend on.
On the other hand, students too have age mates whom they look up to. These are usually ideal students who know why they are in school because they are focused on success. This category is a very different breed of students who are by far the exact opposite of those, who are in school because they are not at home and they are at home because they are not in school.
More still, the role of parents and teachers are parallel when it comes to molding children’s perceptions of school. Parents who are good role models are different from those who take children to school because a neighbours child is in school or because they liken schools to Baby Day Care centres because they are too busy.
By being exemplary, parents create a good moral environment for their children such that no amount of negative influence will affect them while at school. In other words, these students will be more focused with specific goals that they aim to achieve. However, with no goals, students tend to drift aimlessly and accomplish little or nothing at all. Goals enable them to set their priorities right.
Eventually, such a student becomes a positive role model to other students since they are hard working and consistent. They are capable of maximizing the use of their time by resisting the temptation to procrastinate to negative habits.
At the end of the day, the ideal student will co-operate with both teachers and other students. They are not selfish because they believe in helping and freely sharing knowledge with other students.
They are not confused and do not take short cuts like cheating during exams or give excuses for their failures. They take responsibility for their actions and seek ways of improving themselves. They do not take things for granted and they appreciate the sacrifices that parents and friends make and eventually they reciprocate.
Students who possess the above traits are authentic role models and this makes everyone want to hang around them.