The noble pro­fes­sion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - BRIGHT KIDS -

THE lack of qual­i­fied teach­ers is not an is­sue unique to Malaysia; this short­age is ex­pe­ri­enced across the world.

Many schools have had to look at hir­ing de­gree hold­ers with no teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence or ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The net is be­ing cast far and wide to re­cruit a new gen­er­a­tion of teach­ers to cope with the in­creas­ing num­ber of stu­dents.

Loo Chuan Kian, se­nior as­sis­tant of the sec­ondary divi­sion at elc In­ter­na­tional School, says, “We need to find teach­ers with good sub­ject knowl­edge. This mat­ters not only be­cause at the top of the abil­ity range, you need to be able to stretch pupils, but also be­cause teach­ers with good knowl­edge tend to make lessons for younger chil­dren more in­ter­est­ing.”

Sub­ject knowl­edge is a pre­req­ui­site for any dis­ci­pline of teach­ing, but that alone is not enough.

Sheela Raghu, prin­ci­pal at elc, says, “Sound sub­ject knowl­edge can only go so far. A teacher has to have the tools for de­liv­er­ing a sub­ject. For that, she needs to have an aware­ness of the method­ol­ogy of teach­ing and learn­ing.”

Nithiya Kala, head of lan­guages and lit­er­a­ture, adds that learn­ing is now “more stu­dent- cen­tred and ac­tiv­ity- based rather than be­ing di­dac­tic- based.”

Es­sen­tially, teach­ers need to have the tools to en­gage stu­dents and get them to take charge of their own learn­ing process.

“The main chal­lenge nowa­days is to be able to keep stu­dents mo­ti­vated and fo­cused,” says head of the math­e­mat­ics depart­ment Ca­tryana Nel­lan.

This re­quires a sig­nif­i­cant amount of skill on the part of the teacher. While can­di­dates with sound sub­ject knowl­edge but with­out teach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions can be ap­pointed, it is es­sen­tial that they im­me­di­ately un­der­take train­ing that will sup­ply them the skills re­quired to be a suc­cess­ful teacher.

Ideally, can­di­dates would be ap­pointed as trainees and pur­sue at least a diploma that in­cludes the psy­chol­ogy and ped­a­gogy of education.

Founder of elc In­ter­na­tional School Mar­garet Kaloo also stresses the need for ev­ery teacher to dis­play some mea­sure of com­pas­sion, em­pa­thy and mind­ful­ness.

Teach­ers need to be able to un­der­stand the emo­tions of oth­ers ( em­pa­thy), have a de­sire to help oth­ers ( com­pas­sion) and be aware of the present sit­u­a­tion they are in ( mind­ful­ness).

With th­ese val­ues, teach­ers can utilise their skills and knowl­edge and be­come out­stand­ing. When you have an out­stand­ing teacher, there is no doubt that the work be­ing done is truly noble.

What can be done to get more young peo­ple to­day to be in­ter­ested in teach­ing?

Head of elc’s sec­ondary divi­sion Chong Soh Nee says, “There is no one way to make teach­ing a de­sir­able op­tion for the young peo­ple of to­day, but by hav­ing great role mod­els while they are at school, we can in­spire them to want to teach in the fu­ture.”

Many younger teach­ers will talk about in­creas­ing pay scales to en­tice a new gen­er­a­tion to the pro­fes­sion, but when you talk to sea­soned ed­u­ca­tion­al­ists about why they re­main teach­ers, wages are sel­dom men­tioned.

The sin­gle great­est rea­son cited time and again is the in­trin­sic re­ward of see­ing stu­dents suc­ceed, par­tic­u­larly the dif­fi­cult ones.

To­day, we need to fo­cus on cre­at­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of in­spired teach­ers with the de­sire to shape the next gen­er­a­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion about a ca­reer in teach­ing, e- mail re­cruit­ment@ elc. edu. my.

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