By Hina Arshad
A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. Brad Henry
Inspiration means being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative. Everyone gets inspired by something. Although God has created the whole universe for us to explore and draw inspiration from, it speaks for something that the first social, moral and spiritual interaction a human gets is with another human.
Yet, it’s unfortunate that people often do not realize how others have inspired and molded them. One such group of unacknowledged people are the teachers who keep inspiring generations but hardly get acknowledged; they belong to a profession in which their only reward is to celebrate the successes and achievements of those they inspire – their students. And yet, students are unable to realize who has inspired them. Only later on as they reach professional lives, they recall the past and realize that there were some people who never lost hope in them, always believed in them, and helped them reach a level where excellence was the criteria they would be recognized for.
However, not all teachers are inspirational for their students. Even today, many teachers follow the talk-chalk-and-walk method, stuck in a traditional pattern which keeps on repeating itself batch after batch, without any real connections being formed.
In this scenario, we need to ask ourselves: Are we as teachers competent and inspiring enough to lead our students to better lives and promising futures? Do our students, who put their futures in our hands become weaker in doing so, or are they empowered? If we are able to answer these questions with a ‘yes’, we might be able to say we have reached the level where we are not just ‘teachers’ but ‘mentors’ – people who help others shaped and transform their lives
How do teachers become mentors?
Having been in the teaching profession for many years, I believe that teachers whose objective is just to pleasing their school management, rather than identifying students’ innate potentials and talents and helping them develop, remain mere employees. On the other hand, teachers who transform themselves into mentors are not only concerned with children’s learning outcomes, but also with turning them into excellent human beings.
Teachers as mentors do not remain restricted to books. They work on the overall grooming of a child, making their students their friends, talking to them on a regular basis about the issues in their lives, walking them through the journey of struggles and learning, advising them, showing empathy, and helping them build a trust in their own capabilities.
They touch those sensitive buttons of students’ personalities and their hidden potentials, which neither the students themselves have thought about, nor their parents or the society around them.
Teachers as mentors are precious in every society since they don’t live for their own sake. Their role as a mentor brings them hardships and challenges. Yet, they brave through the tough times without making it apparent for their students. Thus, they become symbols of selflessness and serve as role models for their peers as well as the society at large. It is indeed a blessing for any society to have teachers who are mentors.
In the words of Kobe Bryant, “the most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” And this, to conclude, is what the role of teachers as mentors is all about.
Hina Arshad is the Principal of The Set School, Karachi. She has over 10 years of teaching experience.