A professor = a good teacher. Or not?

One of the students of Nazarbayev University GSE and my former colleague once told me, “Do not expect NU professors to have the qualities of a good teacher and facilitate your learning. Just try to get the maximum from what they know.”

Life of each person is inevitably connected with a teacher. First teacher could be a mother or a father who teaches his/her child the basic skills essential for living. However later on a young person usually begins his/her journey of becoming literate and educated. The guide he encounters on this road has a profound effect determining whether the journey would be successful or not. Teacher has the authority to show his student magnificent buildings, gorgeous gardens and orchards, and thought-provoking events or only walk him through the streets with the most primitive buildings, lawns with widespread flowers and trivial events. Thus, a teacher has to strive for equipping his/her students with the most beneficial experiences and exposing the brightest sites of the road. Knowledge of the subject is not enough; a teacher has to be able to masterfully convey the knowledge he/she possess to others. I believe there are certain qualities a teacher should possess to be “a good guide”.

Professional, communicative, compassionate, caring, attentive, curious, modern, organized, open-minded, passionate and patient — all these adjectives should be attributed to a teacher. This portrait of a teacher formed during my primary school years by my first teacher — Rimma Aleksandrovna. Rimma Aleksandrovna is an exemplary educator and a model to follow. She always tried to ensure that everyone received enough attention and did not have any disturbing questions. Her passion to innovate the teaching process and make the classroom a comfortable zone for learning always amazed me. She put tremendous efforts in her work and it always paid off: her students performed better, won contests and were known as very disciplined ones.  However, not all teachers were like Rimma Aleksandrovna.

During my years at the university I was disappointed to encounter teachers who did not fit my vision of a teacher. Unlike my first teacher, university professors had a completely different approach to teaching. Of course some may argue that primary school and university cannot be compared, however, I strongly believe that there are certain features of a teacher which are universal. For instance, the ability to clearly communicate his/her knowledge to students is of paramount importance. What is a need for a teacher if he/she is not able to facilitate learning and share his/her knowledge?! What is the use of an instructor if he/she is a prominent researcher but a poor teacher?! I can compare this to a doctor who has necessary knowledge to perform a surgery but cannot do it because does not know how to operate with the instruments.

Personally, I learn better when a teacher is capable of creating suitable conditions. How about you? Do you believe that all teachers have to know how to convey their message or deep knowledge of a subject is enough to be a good teacher?


2 thoughts on “A professor = a good teacher. Or not?

  1. When a teacher can’t teach he/she is not a teacher. Why not anybody can become a teacher? Because a teacher should not only know his subject but be able to deliver it explicitly. Surely, other factors are also important: persuasiveness, a power of word, guts, passion and respect. All combined they create a teacher some dream to be.

    Thank you for your post, Lenera!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an important topic, and a strong post, Lenera. (4.5/5) My first impression when reading was a bit negative, as it seemed like you were making a sweeping generalization that all foreign teachers are great, while all local ones are poor. Your first paragraph doesn’t address that issue, and your second question complicates the issue by giving a local example of a model teacher. I would discuss that quote a bit more in your introduction, explaining how a great deal of variables and characteristics are involved in making someone a “great teacher”.

    Finally, I noticed some proofreading mistakes you could clean up:

    loosing = to make loose, opposite of tight. Try “successful or not”.
    ensure + that
    Comma splice with however.

    On a positive note, your final three sentences of your second paragraph showcase some highly effective sentence variety and fluency.


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