Self ImprovementIn today's rat race competition, it is manditory for any teacher to upgrade herself/or himself to prove her/his worth to the superiors and students. Apart from educational...

Self Improvement

In today's rat race competition, it is manditory for any teacher to upgrade herself/or himself to prove her/his worth to the superiors and students. Apart from educational upgradation a teacher has to accomplish a great task and contribute some thing for the society. So the responsibility of a teacher is comparatively more - self improvement as well as making a school or a college a better place? my question is how to achieve both? if any experts can answer my question i would be pleased.

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps it is the "curse" of truly dedicated educators, especially when we are under so much scrutiny with the poorly contrived and implemented NCLB, that we feel the need to "prove" ourselves worthy. Anyone who gives his or her best whenever it is possible, I believe, needs to prove nothing. If we grow and change in the educational realm, we are not living in a vacuum in terms of instruction.

And regardless of what we do, there will be some students who we cannot reach: primarily because they choose not to be touched in heart or mind. And this is understandable when we remember that the traditional classroom is not for every child. We don't stop trying, but we must realize that we cannot make students want to learn; and we cannot blame ourselves for those children who "take the road less traveled."

The other important element for me in my classroom is a "life-lesson" unit that runs throughout the year, teaching students to better know themselves and therefore others. It underlies much of what we read. If we, for instance, read To Kill a Mockingbird, I want my kids to 'put themselves in Jem and Mrs. Dubose's skin' (as Atticus would suggest) and find a way to understand the motivations of each of them. For some it will come easier than for others, but what wonderful discussion these activities generate. In this way, I feel my students can express themselves, and it makes school a better place for them.

Only in education do we have the opportunity to "think great thoughts." It is a truly rewarding experience.

kristenfusaro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"it is manditory for any teacher to upgrade herself/or himself to prove her/his worth to the superiors and students."

I disagree with this part of your statement. As long as my students pass the state assessments, my superiors don't care about my self-improvement as a person. If you had stated that we need to prove our skill--rather than our worth--I might be willing to agree with you. No one can determine our worth but ourselves!

I disagree with speaker #6, I believe that we are constantly trying to prove our worth, whether we are cognitively aware of it or not. A wonderful teacher friend of mine who has taught for over 30 years and now works for the College Board said: "Teachers are the best thieves," and I couldn't agree more -- that being said, why would teachers feel the need to thrive and compete if there was no competition to be had?

While I admire your final statement that "No one can determine our worth but ourselves," we always keep what others say clandestine, and we also thrive on what others think. Who moves up in the world? Someone who is always seeking to improve. No. Someone who is noticed as always seeking to improve.

clyonslf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not totally sure what you mean when you say you are expected to "accomplish a great task or contribute some thing for the society."  Quite truthfully I think that, by the very nature of being a dedicated teacher, you will have met that criteria. 

As far as "upgrading" grading yourself, are you referring to a state or district requirement to accrue additional professional development hours?  Again, I would think any dedicated professional would see the value in continually striving to learn new things, explore new methods, and incorporate new techniques into his/her lessons.  As a profession that impacts on so many who pass through our classrooms, I do think it is our responsibilty to make sure we are the best we can be for the sake of our students.  That does require continually self-improvement.  However, you should be doing that for your own sense of pride and not to impress your superiors.  After all, don't we encourage our students to be the best that they can be?  Shouldn't we all be living examples of that?  I think we should.  As a twenty-two year veteren of the classroom, I am proud to say that I am indeed a "life-long learner."

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You know what?  I totally agree that you can influence millions indirectly!  : )  You know what, though?  I would focus on really making a difference in your students' lives with what you teach inside the classroom.  Share real life lessons.  Let them share theirs.  Make it fun for them.  Share your heart, and you will gain theirs. 

This is where you can make a difference.  This is a teacher's best contribution to society.

Yes, yes, bettering yourself in further education is wonderful and all.  God bless you in that arena.  But be prepared for a student to approach you who has just been raped.  Help her know what to do to be safe.  Be prepared to remain calm when a student back from a detention center tries to bully you in front of class.  Be prepared to stop a cat fight in progress with only words.  Be prepared to steep yourself in their world of media so that you can relate to them.

They are waiting to share their lives with you, . . . if you let them.

I can assure you, "When you become a teacher, from your pupils, you'll be taught."

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is odd, to me, that so many teachers are still so interested in self-improvement and the idea of trying to improve their practice.  Actually, rather than odd I should say that I find it fantastic given that much of the structure of public education in this country is built to stifle invention and creativity and innovation.

In order to get along and not cause any problems, so many teachers find themselves doing things that they understand on some level are bad for the children in their classrooms because that is what they are ordered to do.  Because it is difficult to fire teachers thanks to many union contracts, etc., there is sometimes also a tendency to simply get comfortable, find the level of work that needs to be done, and then to simply replicate that with some small modifications because trying to really innovate each year is exhausting and can lead to conflicts with administration of viewpoints are not identical.

But it is always great to see that folks are still trying despite the obstacles out there.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your post seems to tap in to that perennial question that we as teachers all suffer from. How do we balance our job with our own interests or desire for self-improvement and at the same time live a life? I guess for me, instead of bagya's desire to "influence millions" I try to just focus on the kids that I teach at any one time. To bring in a religious example here (apologies if I am offending anyone), Jesus spent the majority of his ministry focussing on 12 individuals alone - although he did have an impact on others, the vast majority of his time was focussed on his 12 disciples. For me, showing my students that I care about them and respect them through working hard to prepare good and challenging classes and helping them to improve has been priceless and better value than any other course I have been on.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is important to always keep learning, because there are always new ideas.  In some ways, teaching English has changed so little in the last few decades.  Yet in some ways, it has changed a lot.  The push to add rigor has led me to AP trainings, even though I don't teach AP classes, so I can prepare my students for them.  The increase in technologies that can make English class more interesting also comes to mind.  I can have my students blogging, use discussion boards and have them make web sites these days.  I need to learn how to use the new technologies as they come out, so I can take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first thing to consider is that YOU are an agent of social change at ALL times, and that it is your decision on whether you want to exercise that duly yours title or not.

As a professional, every field needs to improve simply because times are changing, society is going at top speed, and there is no way to catch up unless your skills are sharp.

As a member of society, your work as a teacher-as a flexible, constantly reinvented teacher- will go hand in hand with social change and it will take very little to make you succeed. Only because you have already given yourself the task to be "game" with change.

Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you should rethink wanting to influence millions.  Few if any educators ever accomplish that.  If you insist, write books, and hope one becomes the fashionable book for a year or two.  You can go on speaking tours and whole countries and states will buy into your methods for a year or two. 

But a teacher influences students one student at a time.  If you want to do a better job of that read, read, read, and study, study, study.  Know your material and know your methods.  And know psychology and behavior modification.  Then you can be a teacher who influences students.

lnorton eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with those above who've taken issue with the presentation of self-improvement as an undesirable thing. Perhaps you're really thinking of the way many colleges focus on the-student-as-consumer, and the way we're often encouraged/threatened/intimidated into thinking of the prof-student relationship as "the customer is always right" -- certainly not the right way to tackle education. To me, self-improvement is tri-fold: it includes increasing my academic knowledge, learning from my mistakes, and increasing my in-class effectiveness.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with Post #3.  I really don't see where anyone expects a teacher to influence millions.  And if you want advice on that, this is the wrong place.  If we had that kind of influence we would be famous people charging hundreds of dollars per hour for our time.

In addition to what Post #3 says, work on learning how to show your students that you care about them as students and as people.  There's an old saying that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care...

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Truly dedicated teachers are lifelong learners who care about and/or love their kids despite the very unlikable nature some of them occasionally have. The great things we accomplish are sometime obscured by state mandated or district mandated testing requirements. The great things accomplished are the positive influences we expose our kids too, and the empowering skills and confidence the pick up as a result of their success in our classrooms. This success is not always academic.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"it is manditory for any teacher to upgrade herself/or himself to prove her/his worth to the superiors and students."

I disagree with this part of your statement. As long as my students pass the state assessments, my superiors don't care about my self-improvement as a person. If you had stated that we need to prove our skill--rather than our worth--I might be willing to agree with you. No one can determine our worth but ourselves!

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As educators we must continually be looking to improve upon our skills as teachers. I agree that we must be lifelong learners in our fields. I also feel that in order to be the type of teacher that influences students you have to work on building relationships with the students. This does not mean being "friends"  with them, rather having an appropriate adult to student relationship.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that a truly great teacher will naturally grow as an individual and this is where the self improvement takes place. I have known many teachers who have phenomenal and they are that way because it comes naturally.

nid | Student

In this technical world every one wants to accomplish something great and wished to become a melange of english.I would also like to upgrate myself so that i can teach my students by incrporating new techniques . we should be the lifelong learners .I want to know how will I make english more interesting and innovative. 

mkcapen1 | Student

As a teacher I am always looking for that something extra to throw out for the year.  I love teaching because I can come up with new ideas every year that make it exciting and not boring. 

Early on I learned that the realtionship one develops wihin the community and parents is the best guarentee of support, supplies, and general help.  Each year I attend different types of programs to get new ideas. 

I just attended a Steampunk science fair series of programs.  The activities included taking metallic trash pieces such as watch face plates and making jewelry, learning about gears, time machines, and dress of the Victorian era. 

I am so hyped about the fun and learning it can combined that I plan to start a club next year called the Steampunk Club.  Don't think of it as a responsibility but rather an adventure that you plan to go on the rest of your career. 

treedreamer | Student

Just being at the 'coal-face' of society is a continuous act of self-improvement. We are trying to make life a little safer for kids and present them with options right! All the same, we are not messiahs or revolutionaries but people doing an honest day's work. Through teaching I have become a better person i think - evolved into someone more open-minded and compassionate for the most part through the inevitable interpersonal adversity that arises for any teacher who cares about their practice. I do think it is really important not to become too self-focused as a teacher - ego is not so helpful and when things go sour we are easily de-moralised. We may guide some kids by being the fairest we can be but kids have a lot of other influences too. So whilst it's great to dream about helping lots and lots of people, we are only one cog in the wheel of kids' development.

cherylpresnall | Student
Self Improvement

In today's rat race competition, it is manditory for any teacher to upgrade herself/or himself to prove her/his worth to the superiors and students. Apart from educational upgradation a teacher has to accomplish a great task and contribute some thing for the society. So the responsibility of a teacher is comparatively more - self improvement as well as making a school or a college a better place? my question is how to achieve both? if any experts can answer my question i would be pleased.

  This is almost a chicken-and-egg argument, but I believe many of my students benefit (at least indirectly) from any self-improvement efforts I've attempted. I'm beginning my masters program this summer, and I plan to incorporate as many new ideas into my classroom as I can. I'm not sure how well I've answered your question, but this is how I've addressed the issue.

krishna-agrawala | Student

In today's rat race competition, it is manditory for any teacher to upgrade herself/or himself to prove her/his worth to the superiors and students.

Bagya

The post#1 makes self-improvement sound like something very undesirable foisted upon unwilling teacher who want to survive in this world characterized by intense rat race. Plus the focus appears more on proving worth to others rater than actually improving the worth.

I think a teacher or any other professional stands better chances of doing well if the focus is on improving ones abilities to perform the job well rather than worrying too much about winning the rat race and impressing others.

bagya | Student

As a teacher i wish to influence millions. How to attain self improvement apart from upgrading the educational qualification is million dollar question lingering in my mind for years.