Call me an envious antagonist but I am not and will never be a supporter of self-proclaimed accomplishments. Aside from the fact that I prefer to admire humble and silent people, allow me to define my perception of the best educator.
Being the best educator means exemplifying greatness in all aspects of being an educator. The task of an educator is not limited in providing quality instruction. Instruction is the core task of teaching and I don’t have any contention about that. A teacher should first and foremost know how to deliver lessons and facilitate learning. However, I am not convinced with the notion that exhibiting excellence in instruction becomes a sufficient determinant of the best educator.
You have to be loved by ALL your students. Yes I meant ALL. I don’t consider the excuse of no one can please everyone. If you are claiming you are the “best,” it’s but proper that you appear as the BEST in the eyes of all your students. Your students have to see you as the image that defines a teacher. When your students are asked to define an ideal teacher, you should appear as one of the reference persons depicted in their minds.
The best teacher knows how to properly discipline students. The ideal teacher never shouts or embarrasses students in front of other people. If I were to impose the standard, the best teacher should possess the power to implement encouragement as a substitute for discipline or any form of admonishment.
The ability to balance and draw the line between being fair and supportive should also be possessed by the best educator. As an educator, you should be capable of making your students feel that you support them and you want them to pass your subject. However, being supportive has its own limitations. An ideal educator should not engage himself in lobbying or extending other means to help the student pass the course. If that’s the rule of the game, let us not anymore burden ourselves in teaching. Let’s just teach the students how to appear oppressed and gain sympathy to receive passing grades.
In the level of Higher Education, the task of an educator is not limited to teaching. The professor should also be involved in research. Not all people realize that research is the main reason why knowledge and innovations emerge. In effect, the absence of research also follows the absence of improvement. The best teacher never finds comfort in her tenure and the academic titles or all the alphabets attached on his name. The best teacher always thirsts for knowledge. In effect, he engages in research endeavors to fulfill his craving for learning. The best teacher does not see research as a burden of additional assignment. He sees research as an opportunity to gather new information, which he could later on impart to his students.
The best educator also manifests harmonious relationship among his colleagues. I don’t accept the excuse that you cannot have the best of both worlds. I don’t believe in the idea that it’s either “you are loved by your students while your colleagues hate you” or “your colleagues love you but your students hate you.” The best educator exemplifies the perfect model of professionalism inside and outside the classroom.
The power of being the best teacher is not confined in student evaluation results, awards or citations. In my opinion, there is no award or variable that can measure a great educator. The only way to conclude that a teacher is a great educator is to listen to the hearts of his students and colleagues. It is only them who can tell whether a he has been the best educator.
More importantly, I believe that there is only one point in the lifetime of an educator when his students can finally say that he is the best and the greatest.