Many professions today are being threatened because human jobs are being replaced by technology. If the function of the teacher was only the transmission of information to the students, then perhaps this could be a concern for teachers, but the role of the teacher goes beyond that. From my experience as a teacher for more than 20 years, I have seen several key factors on which the success of the students depends, and they all relate to the personal influence of the individual teacher, who is always at the center of the learning process. Here I will share three of these factors.
The Teacher as Role Model
The function of the teacher as a role model is the most important and indispensable part of the learning process. Communication, interpersonal relationships, skill building and shaping values cannot be replaced by technology. A teacher’s words and influence are remembered long term, sometimes throughout the students’ lives. Just think of how few of us remember our textbooks, teaching aids, or classrooms, but almost all of us have a clear memory of a teacher who we admired.
The Teacher as Creator of an Atmosphere
In my practice, I have found that while knowledge is forgotten, the atmosphere of the class remains with students for a long time. Children have a strong emotional memory that helps them memorize, connect and give meaning to the information. It is difficult for them to retain the knowledge learned if there is not a motivating atmosphere and a connection with the teacher. Curiosity and discovery can spark when students feel comfortable to ask questions, confident that they can do well, and secure that their teachers know what they are doing.
The Teacher as a Conveyor of Values
In Bulgaria, where I teach, the school is a secular institution. Religious teaching is strictly forbidden. Fortunately, the most important element of sharing Christ is the influence of our personality and character, which teachers can share in any situation.
A person’s character become very transparent when working as a teacher. Choosing to focus on careful daily preparation, self-education, patience, attention, and care for our students can lead to good fruits, the results of which are not always visible immediately, but are often visible later. Children are easily influenced and open to their teachers, but they are also vulnerable if their teachers make mistakes. If teachers show poor character by doing things such as being unfair in grading, being too harsh with their students, ignoring recurring problems in class, or failing to discipline when needed, the consequences can be serious and irreversible. By carefully developing their characters, teachers can connect with their students and show the values we hold as Christians.
Real success in teaching is achieved by building an emotional relationship with the student and providing them with consistent inspiration and encouragement. No matter what technologies become a part of teaching, they cannot replace the human presence and its central role.