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First, the teacher`s personality should be attractive. This doesn`t rule out people who are physically plain, or even ugly, because many such have great personal charm. But it does rule out such types as over-excitable, melancholy, frigid, sarcastic, cynical, frustrated and over-personality. I still stick to what I said in my earlier book: that schoolchildren suffer more from bores than from brutes.
Secondly, it is not merely desirable but essential for a teacher to have a genuine capacity for sympathy – in the literal meaning of that word: a capacity to tune into the minds and feelings of other people especially since most teachers are school teachers, to the minds and feelings of children. Closely related with this is the capacity to be tolerant, - not need, of what is wrong, but of the frailty and immaturity of human nature which induce people and again especially children, to make mistakes.
Thirdly, I hold it essential for a teacher to be both intellectually and morally honest. This doesn`t mean being a plaster saint. It means that he will be aware of his intellectual strengths, and limitations, and will have thought about decided upon the moral principles upon which his life shall be guided. There`s no contradiction in my going on to say that a teacher should be a bit of an actor. This is part of the technique of teaching, which demands that every now and again a teacher should be able to put on an act to enliven a lesson, correct a fault, or award praise. Children, especially young children, live in the world that is rather larger than life.
A teacher must remain mentally alert. He will not get into the profession if of low intelligence, but it is all too easy, even for people of above – average intelligence to stagnate intellectually – and that means to deteriorate intellectually. A teacher must be quick to adapt himself to any situation, however improbable (they happen) and be able to improvise, if necessary at less than a moment`s notice.
On the other hand a teacher must be capable of infinite patience. This, I may say, is largely a matter of self-patience and self-training we are none of us, born like that. He must be pretty resilient: teaching makes great demands on nervous energy. And he should be able to take in his stride the innumerable petty irritations any adult dealing with children has to endure.
Finally, I think a teacher should have the kind of mind which always wants to go on learning. Teaching is a job at which one will never be perfect: there is something more to learn about it. There are 3 principle objects of study: the subject or subjects which the teacher is teaching; the methods by which they can best be taught to the particular the classes he is teaching; and – by far the most important – the children, young people, or adults, to whom they are taught.
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