As a student, I loved learning about everything. I read voraciously which allowed me to see places and meet people I wouldn’t ever be exposed to in real life. I saw patterns and made
connections across subjects and disciplines which then drove me to learn more. It sparked a curiosity in me about the world which I wanted to share. That excitement and passion began my path to teaching.

Over the years there have been ebbs and flows in my excitement influenced by … well … life — births, illnesses, deaths — all made demands on my time.

There it is … TIME, the biggest paradox of the universe: it’s always there, but there’s never enough of it.

One thing is for sure, being a good teacher takes time. Lots of it. It is no wonder the time involved when you think of all that being a good teacher entails. Have a look at this poster created by Stacy Bonine and found on BusyTeacher.org and you might get an idea of what I mean.

Teaching is far more than lecturing or assigning questions from a textbook. Teaching is more than just subject knowledge. Teaching involves every ounce of energy a person can muster, but it also offers never-ending opportunities to light your curiosity anew.

According to the World Economic Forum in their Schools of the Future Report, there are “eight critical characteristics in learning content and experiences [that] have been identified to define high-quality learning in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and they are as follows:

  1. Global citizenship skills
  2. Innovation and creativity skills
  3. Technology skills
  4. Interpersonal skills
  5. Personalized and self-paced learning
  6. Accessible and inclusive learning
  7. Problem-based and collaborative learning
  8. Lifelong and student-driven learning

Providing these learning opportunities requires skilled, dedicated, and creative teachers who are willing to keep learning themselves and try new things. Ultimately, it requires teachers who are willing to dedicate something we all have too little of: TIME.

So what’s to be done? Recognizing the enormous amount of effort that is required and thus ensuring supports for mental health and well-being for teachers would be a great start. Hattie points out in Visible Learning for Teachers that “teachers’ beliefs and commitments are the greatest influence on student achievement over which we can have some control” and he asserts that the factors that make one teacher more influential than another are their attitudes and expectations — essentially they are teachers who show they are “passionate and inspired” (Hattie 25-26). It is pretty difficult to be passionate and inspired if you are sick, suffering, or stressed; so ensuring teacher well-being by providing time, autonomy, and support would make a significant difference not only in the lives of teachers but in the lives of their students.

Works Cited:

Hattie, John. Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. Routledge, 2012.