What teachers do for learners that parents often don’t realise

Have you ever been part of a conversation, maybe around the braaivleisvuur or at a dinner party, where another parent claims that, although they are not an educator, they know exactly what goes on in the classroom?

They’ve been to school after all, haven’t they?! It might have been quite a few years ago but hey, nothing has changed, not true? Teachers have loads of holidays and they only work for six hours a day for five days a week, don’t they? Must be a cushy job then?

Whether you have heard banter – or serious talk – like this or not, consider the following that describes what teachers good at their job do and achieve:

Teachers adapt to the needs of learners

Classrooms evolve all the time, and they are dynamic places.

This is but two of the reasons why teachers know how and strive to adapt to each of the learners in their class.

To do this, teachers adapt their teaching methods to suit a particular day / week / term with its own challenges. This includes adapting to the needs of the learners in their classes.

Teachers believe in their learners

Teachers expect their learners to succeed.

If someone believes in you, you are more likely to succeed. Teenagers are at a stage in their life that they need someone to believe in them.

Teachers generally set the bar high but at the same time they create an environment where it is okay to fail at times, because that is how life works. This motivates learners to keep trying.

Teachers provide emotional support and empathy

Teachers connect to their learners on an emotional level and offer emotional support.

This enables them to act as their mentors when the need arises.

Teachers make learning relevant

If learning is made relevant or meaningful, it enhances the learner’s understanding of learning material, learning concepts and the world around them.

Teachers make what they teach relevant, by linking new concepts to previous experiences that apply to the lives and the community of learners in their classes.

Teachers teach holistically

A teacher who follows a holistic approach seeks to address the emotional, social, ethical, and academic needs of learners in an integrated learning environment.

Often this includes initiating school projects that require critical thinking skills. T

Teachers who teach holistically are fully aware that learning never takes place in a vacuum.

Teachers are some of the most widely skilled people around

A teacher’s week is filled with preparing lessons, marking tests and examinations, working out term or year marks, dealing with discipline, attending meetings, keeping up with admin… to mention but a few.

But, apart from all these organisational skills, teachers get through to the learners that sit in front of them every weekday. They understand how the minds of teenagers work and they know how to inspire them and affect positive change where needed.