What role do teachers play in our education and lives? It’s a tough question to answer, especially since you will be answering it based on your own experience and knowledge. The answer is, in fact, different for everyone.
There is a good chance, however, that in certain courses you will be required to write a paper or two on teaching in general and the role of teachers in the development of a member of society in particular. Besides, essays on teacher related topics make good application papers, which you should definitely use for your benefit.
If you can’t really map out an area to focus your work on, let’s talk about who teachers are, and what functions that might (or should?) perform in the course of their professional activity.
A teacher as an educator
Obviously, the primary role of a teacher is to teach, to transfer and plant knowledge into students’ heads. It shouldn’t be taken literally, however. Explaining grammar rules is just as important as developing a desire to learn them. A teacher teaches students how to learn, self-education included.
There are, in fact, two approaches to understanding the scope of knowledge required for a teacher in order to be qualified for professional teaching activity. While some believe that extensive knowledge of the subject is a MUST, others insist that such a gap between the knowledge of a teacher and the knowledge of a student creates an abyss between them. Therefore, they say, the best teacher is the one who knows just a little more than the student does. You can give your own views on the matter in your paper, based on your experience.
A teacher as an entertainer
Consuming knowledge is a tough process if it’s not spiced up with humor. It’s the role of the teacher to make knowledge more digestible. There is great pleasure in learning, but this pleasure is not readily available for everyone. Only through careful development of the culture of learning one will be able to appreciate it. It’s up for a teacher to cultivate such learning culture.
A teacher as a role model
Like it or not, kids follow in the steps of their teachers, especially at an early age. But while for small kids it’s “I want to be like my teacher”, for older ones it becomes “Who is this person that tries to teach me?” and even “What good did it do him?” Being a fulfilled person helps a teacher’s authority and facilitates the performance of other functions. Bad habits and other minor flaws are not likely to damage a teacher’s image, but the lack of moral compass is easily felt by students and might discredit such a teacher completely.
A teacher as a supporter
Making mistakes, analyzing what went wrong, drawing experience and using it in the next similar situation – this is an invaluable process for learning and developing as a person. A teacher should support a student through all these stages, from committing the first mistake to understanding that mistakes are in fact a valuable experience. One might argue that it’s the role of a parent, but all too often such advice from parents is not taken by their children seriously enough, while similar recommendations coming from a teacher are appreciated.
A teacher as an evaluator
It’s not just test answers that should be evaluated – it’s the personality in general. The attitudes, the beliefs, the worldview. A teacher may introduce much-needed objectivity where parents fail to provide it due to their natural bias. At that, such evaluation should be done in the subtlest of ways, without any explicit judgment. It should also come accompanied by actionable advice to follow rather than come as pure criticism.
A teacher as a source of inspiration
There are those who take up teaching out of pure despair and project such frustration and despair onto their students. And there are those who genuinely enjoy the process. Who do you think will be the real source of inspiration for their students? Who will be able to prove that one can do what one loves in life, even though they might not make the money they would like to make?
The best teachers combine all of the above-mentioned, and if you have met such a person in your life, consider yourself lucky – you already have a great topic for your paper.