Are we Toxic Teachers?

classroomDown the memory lane, the most ecstatic flashes are of those people who’ve made your life worthwhile. For me, most of them were my teachers. I vividly remember some of them for their extensive efforts to make me love school; the others were some really inspiring teachers. All these powerful educational experiences have helped me nurture my passion for teaching and learning.

As much as recalling these pleasant moments bring me joy, the resonance of a few harsh ones often engulfs me with anguish. If only the teachers could realize what harm they do to the striving souls through their malicious marks! The psychological significance of these unpleasant moments is so strong that it lives with you for a lifetime. For many students, it’s hard to fight back these dominant influences. Hence, they close themselves in shells that are hard to crack later. Fortunately, my list of unpleasant interactions is not very long, but whatever little I had was painful and the memories still hurt.

I have realized that teaching is not only an instructional communication between an adult and his pupil but it’s an art. A teacher has to adopt several roles: those of a mentor, a friend, a guide and a leader.

Novice teachers or even those with several years of experience may have teaching practices that are capable of making students hate their subject. These teachers never give students a chance to open up. They demonstrate unnecessary favouritism and make those who are competent to do assignments ahead of time feel guilty. They are absolutely oblivious to the students’ needs and wouldn’t care if learning is taking place or not. They ridicule those who ask questions. Their focus remains on delivering. They promote rote learning and unethical practices. The damage these ‘toxic teachers’ cause is irreparable.

With the passage of time and years of experience, I have realized that teaching is not only an instructional communication between an adult and his pupil but it’s an art. A teacher has to adopt several roles: those of a mentor, a friend, a guide and a leader. A juggle between these roles, day in and day out, is what makes a successful teacher. All our teaching practices should be a combination of these and also a reflection of our own most influential educational experiences as a pupil. This reflection will help us relate to our past experiences regarding ‘what hurt and what healed’ and can help us remodel ourselves in a way we would like to be remembered as a great teacher!