A child, as we know, needs models and not critics. These models a child finds, first in his parents, and second in his teachers. It is very correctly said that the influence of the teacher is immense and no one knows when the influence becomes visible and where it sops. Since the teacher is one of the child’s ideal, it is very important for a teacher to have qualities which impress the child and the qualities which he can imitate and thus become good.
A role model is, therefore, one who has some sterling qualities of head and heart, which the child gets impressed by. So now, when we look for the essential qualities in a teacher we have to be clear in what we want the children in her charge to become, for the influence of a teacher is very deep, far reaching and of course permanent.
We want our children, for instance, to develop the quality of honesty. The teacher must then be very honest in all her behaviour with the children she is handling. In this regard, partiality and favouritism are the two most obnoxious qualities that a teacher should not have. This attitude of a teacher is noticed by the children and they do not like her for it, and they also feel that she is not very honest in her dealings with them. In the process they also learn to be dishonest in their dealings with her, and with their classmates. Thus, an ideal teacher must be very honest and transparent in all her dealings with the children and with her colleagues. This folly of favouritism plays a double havoc with the children for, on the one hand, a child who is favoured, becomes unnecessarily pampered and the child who is unduly differentiated against, either gets into his shell, and feels unwanted or, if he is bold by nature, he becomes a revolutionary. In either case this favouritism of the teacher plays hell with both, the favoured and the not-so-favoured. This attitude of the child, shown at this stage of his life becomes a permanent feature of the child’s character, and he starts feeling rightly or wrongly that he is punished for the wrongs that he has not done, and as an adult he becomes a confirmed revolutionary. Thus, in a nutshell we can derive that, in her partiality the teacher damages both the child who is favoured and the child who is not.
The next quality that we would like to find in an ideal teacher is that, he should be very affectionate to all the children in his care. The love they get at this stage of life is what makes them lovable and affectionate adults. Love has got to be inculcated in the children as, it is love only that makes life worth living. So it is very necessary for an ideal teacher to be loving and caring, then only he in turn infuses the finer quality of begetting love in the children in his charge.
A loving teacher is forever remembered and loved by students, who just admire him for his fountain of love, and they start believing that there could be no one more affectionate than their teacher of the past days.
The students believe that their teacher is a fountain-head of all knowledge. This belief of the children must be kept alive by the teacher which is possible, only if he continues to learn together with his teaching assignments. A good teacher is the one who is also a good learner. Besides, if a teacher does not happen to know a particular thing, he should never pose as if he knows it. This is because, if, at any stage, the children come to know that their teacher does not know, he only shows that he knows, they lose all respect for him. The teacher must know that, the children do not take much time to assess the stuff or the capacity of a teacher. It is not that the teacher must know everything on the face of this earth but, the moot point is that, he should not bluff the children into believing that his knowledge is absolutely complete. For an ideal teacher it is advisable to tell the children that he will find out the answer to their query, instead of giving them any wrong information. If he does this, the children will admire him for his honesty, and will not be disappointed in his lack of knowledge, for, they also, know that a teacher is also, besides being a teacher for them, a human being with limitations. This will unwittingly inculcate in the children a habit of accepting their own drawbacks and not nearly justifying whatever they do or say.
Another very important quality for an ideal teacher is to be very understanding in respect of the behaviour of the children. Though the teacher and the children are a generation apart, it would be great quality in a teacher if he could understand the woes of the children, and to help them out of their seemingly little problems, and also feel for them. With this attitude of friendship with the children, the teacher will win the confidence and they will always discuss their problems with him and they will also take him as their confidante. For this, the teacher has to put himself in the shoes of the children, understand their feelings, and he will be loved for this. In turn, his wards will also learn the art of helping their younger siblings or friends in solving their problems.
With all the above mentioned qualities in a teacher, the teacher will be an ideal teacher, he will be one who will leave an indelible mark on the minds of the young children in his charge. They will turn out to be exact replicas of their teacher. Thus, it is very important for the teacher to be a picture of what he would like the children to be. The impact of a teacher can be easily felt when we see the present deterioration in the younger generation. This is because our teachers are lacking in almost all the qualities required for an ideal teacher, and so, their wards are also lacking in all good qualities of head heart. A good teacher helps the students to develop all the great qualities of civilized human beings. An ideal teacher is thus one who leaves a permanent impact on the children he grooms, and they remember him for his great qualities at different times of their lives. A student is a mirror which reflects the learnings and knowledge of a teacher, this must be kept in mind by a teacher.