WHAT are the attributes of a quality teacher? There are many and one of them is a string of As in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia exam by their students. However, the teaching profession is not the same as other careers where a string of As can be considered a precise measure of success.
The greatest quality a teacher can have is the passion to teach. Teachers must love students, like to read books, have a thirst for knowledge and, above all view teaching as a messianic duty.
To develop these qualities, teachers should not waste their time on other things like administrative work or making sure the drains are not clogged.
They should also not waste time preparing a grand welcome for visiting Education Department officers to impress them.
Students of the older generation can testify that they enjoyed schooling simply because they had the right teachers.
They learned a lot from their teachers, whom many looked upon as a source of inspiration.
Students of the 60s and early 70s, schooled in the English medium, were generally self-reliant and could stand on their on feet without having to attend tuition classes.
Teachers of today have a heavy responsibility in moulding students.
The present generation is more spoon-fed, focusing more on rote learning for exam's sake and are unable to think beyond what is taught in school.
Most attend tuition classes, which have become mandatory, when the time spent there could be better spent on other creative activities.
A quality teacher must be able to develop students who have good critical thinking and communication skills and a thirst for knowledge.
Their approach should not be condescending, authoritative or forceful.
Learning must be enjoyable, fun and happy.
Hassan Talib, Gombak, Selangor | firstname.lastname@example.org New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 12 December 2012