An ideal teacher
My primary school history teacher repeatedly told his classes that the primary purpose of a teacher was "to teach young people to think." I was deeply impressed by this simple statement. Years later, I can still vividly remember Mrs. Pająk's commitment to engage students in her history lessons to stimulate their thinking skills. We had highly interactive discussions that forced us to ponder over more information than the textbook actually gave us. That year in Mrs. Pająk's class, I learned much more than just Polish history from her.
Now I am firmly convinced that an ideal teacher firstly ought to teach his students to think for themselves. Learning is not just about acquiring study techniques or mastering rote memorization skills, but rather about developing an understanding and appreciation for the subject material being studied and deriving practical applications. I believe that receiving an education is not just for aesthetic purposes; learning is important for the sake of understanding the world in which we live so that we will know how to relate to, cope with and succeed in it.
Secondly, through the good instructor's teaching it must be apparent that he has a love for the subject he teaches. He encourages students to develop an interest and love for this subject as well. In order to maintain his students' interest in the subject material, he creates lesson plans that are engaging, interesting and highly interactive. In my view the easiest way to perform it, is to integrate textbook learning with lessons in laboratory or museum. Such lessons should be built on their prior knowlege and the teacher must ask questions that would cause his students to think deeper about the problem.
The good teacher has not only real knowledge, which he can absorbingly pass, but he is also a kindly man, interested in youth's problems. He is responsible for his conduct and deferential to the students through his cultivated behaviour. He detects the uniqueness of each pupil, skilfully finds what is the most valuable in him, discovers good inclinations, talents and takes care of their growth.
All in all I believe that an ideal teacher helps his students reach their full potential in learning by teaching them to think. Students should be challenged by thought-provoking questions and encouraged to question and discuss ideas in order to develop a fuller understanding of the subject material. A student's attitude toward learning is influenced by the family and social background that he or she comes from. A good teacher will try to understand these backgrounds and, with them in mind, develop approaches to teaching that aim to eliminate negative attitudes and enhance their desire to learn. Ideal teachers should be firm, yet caring; flexible, yet steadfast in pursuing their ultimate goals; patient, yet persevering; strong in character and integrity, and demand excellence both from themselves and their students.
I will always remember Mrs. Pająk: a teacher whose unswerving commitment to teach young people and love for teaching has left a legacy of students whose capacity to think flourished and enjoyment of learning increased because of the deep impressions left by a dedicated educator.