How many great teachers do you know in your school? Would you venture to think of a percentage? I would say that in most schools the percentage would be very close to 100% because I am convinced that most teachers do their best, not just to survive in the classroom, but to educate our young people. Of course you will always find one or two who were not really called to be educators, but is not that true for any profession! Thus I encourage the majority of you educators to remember and rekindle the enthusiasm you felt in your early years of teaching. Let us click on the hyperlink in our school life and look at the 21st century competences that are our learners’ entitlement. Let us take care of our learners’ character education and start encouraging them to share, collaborate, communicate, be creative, think critically, code, and be active digital citizens. How are teachers modelling this kind of behaviour? How can you do this?
Perhaps the first thing is to realise that the world our young people are growing up in has changed profoundly and is still changing very fast. I believe that unless we think in the same way about education and the way we teach, then teachers are going to have a really hard time in the classroom. Do not get me wrong. Technology will not replace the teacher. Technology does not know what is best for the student. Technology does not encourage learners when they are struggling. Technology does not inspire learners to set and reach goals. That is your role as a dedicated teacher who can discern what is required for a learner to succeed. That said, we as educators need to acknowledge a few facts.
We keep hearing that 80% of the jobs that are advertised today did not exist ten years ago. I do not know if this is totally true or not but it feels true. If it is true, does that mean that a great deal of what we teach today will be irrelevant in just that time or less? When I was a primary school teacher we used to expect learners to know which bus number to take from Hamrun to Valletta and to know the number of seats in parliament at that time. Later as a secondary school ICT teacher we had to teach about the storage space of a 3.5inch floppy disk. Do you remember the floppy disk? What is a floppy?
Photo: John F. Williams/Released/Flickr user