Teacher as a mentor: need of hour

Dr. S. S. VERMA; Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal; Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148 106

2021-09-04 15:29:09

Credit: pixabay.com

Credit: pixabay.com

Teacher in old times was respected/considered as the epitome of knowledge and was called as a “Guru” but with changing times, when the knowledge (though may not be in its formative form) is available to students online through various sources like google, YouTube videos, MOOC, NPTEL/SWAYAM and many more, having all the information on everything from experts, role of a teacher becomes more challenging in the present times.  This role further becomes more important when there is all possibility towards online education mode along with offline education mode to continue in the times to come? Therefore, to make teaching more effective, interesting and fascinating to students, a teacher has to update the students with sound basic concepts and applications of the course contents as well as play the role of a mentor to each and every student.

Presently, when most of the students in general and in higher education in particular are well equipped with latest technological devices to have easy access to the learning resources, it is not enough for a teacher to just impart route learning to students but teachers at one hand must be capable to give deep inputs on the basic concepts of course curriculum along with its life applications to students and on the other hand should also play the role of a mentor more effectively. It is important for a teacher to impart, imbibe and acquire moral values which help students face life’s challenges and become good citizens. However, it never means that a teacher consumes his most of the class time to give theoretical lectures on life values and skill development instead of imparting the subject knowledge.  Teacher at first hand should have deep knowledge of his subject and must be ready to update his knowledge as per the changing requirements. Teachers should work hard to teach students so that they might excel in academics and do well in extra-curricular activities also. Teachers should be able to allow students to express themselves, be creative and allow their talents to bloom like a flower.

The pandemic has pre-empted heightened needs for people to seek mentoring while learning. As forced by pandemic situation and then adapted to online teaching learning mode of education, students are away from educational campuses due to which their learning has to be strengthened more and there is a great need for mentor-led, career-focused partnership between student and teacher. To succeed, good mentoring is of utmost importance, it is also one of the strongest areas which people misunderstand as teaching. A mentor is someone you can look up to at any point in your life in terms of professional and personal support. They can facilitate your success in your career and beyond. It is a well-accepted fact that not every professional could distinguish between teaching and mentoring. Mentoring and teaching are equally important but when it comes to professional learning and development, the process is what matters.

Mentoring is a dynamic and collaborative process which means to support and encourage individuals to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be. Effective mentoring increases student performance, retention of knowledge, and commitment and for the mentoring to be successful, the mentor should have faith in the mentee. Mentors can profoundly boost a mentee''s career path, by offering them a wealth of knowledge, experience, and guidance that can help them navigate through challenging times. Having access to an experienced mentor helps professionals identify and bridge their skill gaps and expedite knowledge acquisition to achieve their career goals.  Virtual mentoring programs can fill the major gaps in the current scenario and will help students to be competent enough to achieve their career goals as well as live a happy, healthy and socially meaningful life. Valuable mentoring takes effort and establishing effective mentoring relationships requires certain skills and structure from both the mentor and the one being mentored. When both sides take responsibility and commitment to make it work -that''s when success strikes.

Mentoring along with teaching comes when a sensitive teacher discovers the potential of a child, when he/she realizes that all students do not have the same need and when s(he) stops comparing children. The teacher should adopt a teaching style that teaches students to use their innate abilities and talents and live a life, which is much more than merely teaching them how to make a living. Teachers need to reinforce their faith in the power of giving to others. Teachers should ensure that there is scrupulous adherence to discipline by the students and this can be only attained if they are disciplined themselves. Teachers should influence in the character building of the students. A student should be impressed by the candour, modesty and wisdom of a teacher. A teacher’s charm, exuberance and warmth should be endearing to the students.  Knowledge, imagination and innovation should be encouraged through a holistic approach. Teachers should be encouraged to teach at their best and students should be motivated to learn to their utmost.  It’s the art of a teacher to enable the students to recognize their hidden abilities and talents. Each student has a different need. Different students require varied amounts of attention, motivation, guidance and advice. Some students feel comfortable and confident in approaching the mentors, wherein some may be shy and reluctant to seek help. A good mentor is the one who can understand the individual need of a student. Here are some aspects of good mentoring practice.

  • To be non-judgmental
  • To be unbiased
  • Careful listening
  • Understand individual needs of the students
  • Providing ‘protected time’ and ‘undivided attention’ to mentee
  • Sharing success and failure stories
  • Taking special interest to build relationships and confidence
  • Continuous assessment of progress
  • Avoiding reprimanding in public
  • Interactive reflective discussions
  • coming up with solutions and to try problem-solving together