IDEALISM AND REALISM IN TEACHING
Post date: Apr 25, 2018 3:02:37 AM
By Catherine L. Jongco, BNHS-TIII
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” – Kahlil Gibran.
This lit up my consciousness about the genuine role of the teachers and that is “to make a difference and touch the lives of our students”. The educators should serve as an instrument to help the students achieve their goals in life as well as aim the best interests for them and not merely focus in enriching their intellectual capacity. Since the students spend most of their time inside the school, the teachers are in the right position to guide and lead the students to a road where they can find their real purpose in life. However, it is saddening to know that there are some teachers whose concern only is to feed all the knowledge to their students cognitively and they forgEt that learning is not only confined with what the students will know intellectually but what must really matter is how the students will apply those learnings in reality.
From these understandings, I recalled my eight years of teaching in the private schools; I had come to realize that I was also a victim of my own dogmas in teaching. I was then so idealistic with my profession. I wanted to see myself to my students; I wanted them to be my reflection of who I was when I was still studying. Since I was a fresh graduate that time, I literally practiced the principles of idealism. I became perfectionist in all aspects of learning, and I got easily annoyed if anyone from them did not comply with my expectations. However, some of my students liked the way I handled them, but of course some of them had their voices inside their mind that about to roar because of so many requirements and rules I demanded from them. I even gave failed or low grades when my student did not meet my level. But at the end of the day, I also had these reflections and questions in my mind; “Am I really an effective teacher in this approach?” or “Am I their biggest disappointment in their studies?”
In fact, everything was changed when I transferred to public school last 2013. I had met different faces of students with different attitudes towards their studies. The stress I had experienced teaching the worst of the worst started to destroy me. I came to the point that I wanted to quit. But I always remind myself that experience is the best teacher. Thus, I struggled a lot overcoming this culture shocked I had from private to public school. And these taught me to change my ideologies that teaching is all about the learners and not all about us, the teachers. From this, I started to break the wall that separated me from my students. I began to be more realistic rather than idealistic. I started to look at the bigger view of teaching. So, I turned to the principles of realism as my guide in teaching my students. According to Maheshwari (2015), realism in education recognizes the importance of the child and that the child should be considered as a unit who has real existence. He also added that the feelings and desires of the students should not be overlooked. Here, the teacher should serve as a guide and a demonstrator. An educator has the responsibility to introduce to the students that the real world exists. Moreover, this theory dragged the education from the old traditions and idealisms to the real surface. Therefore, for me this is indeed timely to the kind of our students we have right now. They should be prepared on what lies ahead in their life. And this is the real purpose of education, to prepare the man in his real purpose in this world.
Consequently, accepting the reality in teaching that creates frustrations and disappointments in our part will help us to be more realistic in the real scenario of education. Yes, it is indeed normal for us to expect more to our students, but there are some elements that we need to consider that we usually ignore because we are sometimes egoistic. We are only bound of showing to our class that we are the best. We forgot that our students are created differently and they can show different styles of learning. And we overlooked the meaning of education in terms of unlocking the full potentials of our students. However, as we learned from our own mistakes, we can now penetrate to student’s realm and start to understand their attitude towards their studies. We become more appreciative of the little achievements they have and we become more considerate. In these ways, we are starting to build a connection with them, a connection that will bridge the difference between us . This relationship will offer a win-win solution for both teachers and students. Likewise, we should always be reminded that we are responsible to our student’s future and let us not destroy them because of our attitude towards teaching. They are the living proof of our achievements as a teacher and not a mirror image of us.
To sum up, there is no perfect teacher in the world of education. It is up to us, as teachers, on how we can be an effective teacher to our students. Even though we knew so many theories and principles in teaching, still we need to choose what will be the most appropriate principle to apply, considering the different factors such as the kind of students, school, curriculum, and the most importantly the attitude of the teacher. Also, educators must be aware of the real definition of education and the genuine purpose of learning so as they will not lost their way as they mold the future of the learners. As Albert Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”