Students no longer rely solely on textbooks, which necessitates teachers to constantly up-skill and re-skill. Everything around us is constantly getting reinvented. Last year forced everyone among us to think out of box. The five-star hotels are sending home gourmet food, schools turned online and even the Baniya around the corner has an app with online payment facility. The teachers have been thrown in at deep end. How can they cope? Online or offline school, there are three things that educators can do to stay relevant.Life-long learners: No longer a teacher can simply do a BEd course and expect to stay relevant forever. Like everything else, teaching is also something you learn on job. But things don’t always get better with time, but they get better with change. There is constant research taking place around the world and new pedagogy is being developed. For example, the focus has shifted from content and textbooks, as this is the era of getting information at click of a button. Students no longer rely solely on textbook information for their learning and they are far more aware about latest developments. It is prerogative of the teachers to constantly unlearn and relearn new methodologies and techniques. The NEP (National Education Policy) has also prescribed mandatory continuous training of 50 hours for each in-service teacher. This is an extremely relevant recommendation and one which I hope all school leaders would endeavour to fulfill at their schools to ensure continuous learning of educators.Knowledge sharing: Teachers need to learn to share and share to learn. There is a need to build a strong and well connected community of teachers. There need to more avenues of sharing. In order to develop 21st century skills such as critical thinking in students, it is important for educators to develop skills such as analysis and evaluation skills. Students have to be equipped to discriminate available knowledge by comparing and contrasting information. But before the students can do this, it is the teachers who have to be taught the same skills.The last year has helped connect world-class facilitators with teachers across the globe. We need school leaders, seniors as well as experienced teachers, to generously give their time and share their experiences with the newer generation of teachers. This will empower them to enable transformation in the classroom. It will also build a sense of pride in the teaching profession.Making teachers more accountable: Teaching has always been considered a noble profession. While this is true, sometimes there is a complacency that sets in because the teacher may think that they are doing others a favour. Just like any well-run organisation, school leaders need to identify the learning gaps among teachers, track their performance, and make the teachers accountable not just for the marks but also for the learning outcomes of students. This way the educators would be compelled to keep reinventing themselves. Just rethink, reinvent and reimagine educators, today and every other day.
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