June 11, 2020 1 Comment
10 Ways to Become A Celebrated Teacher in Digital Era
Are you proud of being a teacher?
Do you believe the wonderful things that are said about a teacher?
Do you think teachers actually get the respect, or even the pay they deserve?
Well! Being a teacher I was always struggling with these questions. But a few years back, I realised the need to change and I am in a much better situation right now.
Living in India, the country of traditions, respect and culture, we are inadvertently told to respect everybody, especially if they are older than us. Among that older also, the highest pedestal is reserved for teacher. Our scriptures are full of shlokas and dohas that praise a teacher, like
गुरु ब्रह्मा गुरु विष्णु गुरु साक्षात महेश्वरा |
Or whether when we compare a teacher to a God and show superiority of a teacher over the God. But none of these emotions are found now. Teachers have also accepted this and are getting more and more accustomed to being treated like this. This is one of the major reasons, why teaching is not a profession of choice in our country.
Teaching has always been the most influencing profession. The teacher a child has, majorly defines the way he or she turn out as an adult. Their preferences, style, communication, language, interests, life choices, everything are influenced by their teachers. And today’s era is an era of influencers. Which ironically means that it should be the era of teachers. But that is not the case.
So what is missing? I would say inspiration. An influencer who can be an inspiration is what we are all looking for today. All teachers teach, but those few teachers who inspire others to become a teacher are missing. So be unique. Identify your key skill and harness it. Whether it is related to your subject, or how you engage learners, or your interaction with parents, identify what you do better than others and inspire others to learn that from you.
So it’s time to stand out from the crowd. Show your skill, make your friends and family respect you more, make a stronger network, do something for your teaching community and get better opportunities. This would not happen overnight of course, but once most of our teachers restart becoming inspirations, this profession will regain the charm, respect and dignity that it has lost over last decades.
Creating that name for yourself, regaining that recognition, making people respect you, admire you, cherish you might sound difficult, may be impossible to some, but it is very much achievable with these simple steps.
Let’s see these steps…
1. With a Clear Focus – Decide your key message and stick to it. Respect cannot be demanded, but only earned. One thing at a time. If you want to leave an imprint that is memorable, focus on your strengths and deliver them to your best abilities. Every Single Time. So even if you and somebody else share the same content, or a video on your timeline, what makes you different and more focussed is the fact that you would write your point of view to go with that. Personalize it, as much as possible.
2. Not Ordinary, but Extraordinary – This is the easiest and most authentic way. Like Sadhguru once said, don’t try to be special. Maintain your originality and be more ordinary than others. Because once you do that, you automatically become extraordinary. It does not mean don’t do anything special. It means do what you believe in. When you are genuine, you become more meaningful, because you want to really share your knowledge. If you have identified the area where you are really skilled, let that skill speak for your reputation and build your name. Find that thing in which you are better than 90% of the people and start focussing on it majorly. Try and become the go-to expert person for that thing. Which means that other teachers and students should know that for this thing, you are the best person to be approached.
3. A Story Teller – Share experiences of how you have done something that was not so easy and what changes it brought to your life. Write about it, or make a video. A well narrated story helps you make a personal connection with your students and the community. A story about some special teaching aid you created, a story about how students enjoy when you teach, a story about how you are upskilling yourself. Well, we don’t mean that just keep telling stories, but sometimes to make yourself heard, you have to blow your own trumpet. The best way to be known is by word of mouth. So when you tell your story, others get inspired and they tell YOUR story in another circle. That is how you keep getting better.
4. Consistency is the Key – It is an extension of being focussed only. Try that this consistency is not just in your concepts or methods, but in each aspect, even your appearance. Try to think of same prominent names and you will realise that they have a style. A style is nothing but a consistent appearance. Have one for yourself. Let people know how to visualize you. Same way your style of talking and communication need to be consistent. Don’t experiment too much. Stick to your strengths. There is no secret better than consistent hard work.
5. It’s Okay to Fail – Really, nobody wants to fail.. ever! But be prepared for it. As the saying goes, hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. This is because no matter how enthusiastically we start, one fail and we are demotivated and give up. One victory might need you to climb on a ladder of small failures. But keep climbing. Learn from every failure and promise to yourself, not to repeat the same error.
6. Positive, Always – What you want to become is a ‘thought leader’. Keeping a positive attitude in the worst of adversities, and having a healthy relationship will only help you grow faster and more permanent. Keep growing your community by spreading this positivity. People might forget what you said but they will never forget how you said it, or your smile or encouraging attitude. So be there
7. Love to Learn – A good teacher is a forever learner, or vice versa. The learning should never cease. Read more. View videos that connect you to your topic, your thoughts. Prefer to watch movies which are along similar lines so you understand better, and are able to quote and share examples in your friend circles, and among other teachers. Be smart and identify not just the need of the hour, but of tomorrow also, and evaluate your level at it. Then learn it to get better. Be ahead of your time. Don’t just learn, but be willing to share your learnings with others. Don’t let the learning fire extinguish.
8. I am a Brand – Become a name known enough so that people find you because they are inspired by you and look up to you. They want to see how you dealt with some challenges, what were your experiences so they can build theirs. Conducting and attending more seminars, webinars, sharing confidently, networking are all simple ways to slowly build your brand. Write a blog, create a video, but keep sharing. Out of sight is out of mind and we definitely don’t want that. Understand what other teachers are trying to find and help provide that to them. It is truly said that your reputation reaches before you. So let it amplify all you believe in. And open new doors of respect, recognition, and opportunities for yourself.
9. Strategy for Virtual Platforms – A carefully designed strategy for your content and social networking. Quality over quantity. So while we talk about virtual presence, many people take it as creating an account on every social media platform they know. And as a result they are not able to use even one properly. Don’t repeat this mistake. It’s okay if you have your presence on 1-2 platforms, but make it felt there. Share more and more. Share concerned content. Things that will influence. Topics that are of utmost connect to your students and teachers at any given time. Consistent, Connected and Careful. Continuously put out good content with your name to create the connection. Even if you are just re-sharing some content, instead of just sharing, write 3-4 lines about it to give it your touch and your opinion.
10. Leave a Legacy – Oh, we all want to be remembered by our students, forever. We all have a hidden desire that if someday somebody asks my students who inspired you, they should name me. We all want to have that impact not just on our students, but on our friends and peers also. While we all want that, hardly 1-2% of us are able to achieve it. It’s not really difficult. And if you are doing all of this consistently, you will automatically reach there. Your style, your tone, your key words need to have a pattern. Pick topics and stick to them. Keep evolving and keep sharing your stories.
There is no stopping you if you start seeing these steps as golden rules and follow them religiously. After all, a great result only comes as a product of great efforts.
The sole reason why we are sharing all this free advice is because we want to see you teachers regain that respect that you deserve. To see you teachers succeed. And there is no shame in seeking help. To be recognised by your juniors is one thing, but being recognised by those who you look up to is a different level altogether. So pull yourself along until you can reach where you want to reach.
Talk about investment, yes there is no gain without some initial pain. This paradigm shift will require you to invest your time, your effort and your work. Look the part and continuously and consistently share your stories. Meet and connect with new people so as to be heard more. Don’t repeat the same mistakes. It’s not easy and quick to become recognised, but it is definitely not too difficult. Start with a smaller circle and keep increasing your circle of influence gradually. The more you influence people, the more other teachers get inspired by you, they will share about you and you will become nothing short of a celebrity. A celebrated personality.
“I believe there is no other profession in the world that is more important to society than that of a teacher.”
– APJ Abdul Kalam