Nuances of ‘Teaching’ Profession

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

……………… Henry Brooks Adams

From the very nature of the employment, and of the circumstances under which the preparation for it must be made, it is plain that, of the many thousands who are annually entering the teaching profession, a very large majority must depend on their knowledge of the art of teaching, except what they acquire from their own observation and experience.

The teacher has human nature to deal with most directly. Her whole work is one of experimenting upon mind. The reason why some teachers find their work delightful, and others find it wearisome and tedium itself, is that some do and others do not take this view of the nature of it.

Moral influences are the chief foundations on which the power of a teacher over the minds and hearts of her pupils is to rest. It is a system of authority—supreme and unlimited authority—a point essential in all plans for the supervision of the young; but it is authority secured and maintained as far as possible by moral measures. It is now universally acknowledged that physical force is not necessary at all and that no teacher ought to make war upon the body of her pupils; she should conquer them through the medium of the mind.

Teaching may, in some cases, be a delightful employment, while in others it’s tasteless & dull. The class-room is, in reality, a little empire of mind. If the one who presides in it sees it in its true light; studies the nature and tendency of the minds which she has to control; adapts her plans and her measures to the laws of human nature, and endeavors to accomplish her purposes for them, not by mere labor and force, but by ingenuity and enterprise, she will take pleasure in administering his little government.

On the other hand, if she goes to her employment only to perform a certain regular round of daily toil, undertaking nothing and anticipating nothing but this dull and unchangeable routine, and when she looks upon his pupils merely as passive objects of her labors, whom she is to treat with simple indifference while they obey her commands, and to whom she is only to apply reproaches and punishment when they do wrong, such a teacher never can take pleasure in the school.

Two teachers may therefore manage their schools in totally different ways, so that one of them may necessarily find the business a dull, mechanical routine, except as it is occasionally varied by perplexity and irritation, and the other a prosperous and happy employment. The one goes on mechanically the same, and depends for his power on violence, or on threats and demonstrations of violence.

The other brings all her ingenuity and enterprise into the field to accomplish a steady purpose and depends for her power on her knowledge of human nature, and on the adroit adaptation of plans.

The great reliance of the teacher is upon an art, to reduce the endless multiplicity to some tolerable order. She must be systematic. She must classify and arrange; but, after she has done that entire she can, she must still expect that her daily business will continue to consist of a vast multitude of minute particulars.

Though the difficulties cannot be entirely removed, they can be so far mitigated by the appropriate means as to render the teaching employment a happy one.

Mrs. Preeti Rana

(Senior English teacher)

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