Omaira Alam –
Who is teaching our teachers?
In a recent conversation with a friend, I was told that they are doing some serious classroom management training sessions with a renowned expert. And this person is definitely an expert in their field. Problem is, it isn’t education, it’s parenting.
Wait. Wait. Wait a minute. Huh? What could be the problem with that? Parenting and teaching are so similar, right? They both deal with children and well, children get unruly, so many of the same principles probably apply.
While I respect parenting experts in general, as a teacher, an educator and a teacher trainer, I know there are some very serious differences. Teaching in a classroom setting means the teacher is focused on and equally responsible for 15 to 30-plus students at any one time. It means that while they are conveying content, they also need to ensure that every student is paying attention and learning. It also means that they hone in on those students who are having difficulty while also addressing students who are distracted and disruptive. It’s not an easy task and a feat deserving of some serious respect.
That respect means we don’t leave teacher training to chance. It means we get the experts in the field of education to teach our Islamic school teachers.
So who should be teaching our teachers? Seasoned classroom teachers and education experts who have in-classroom experience and are familiar with the research. Experts who know how to set up a classroom in a way that leads to greater student learning and motivation. It means that the education experts are familiar with strategies like proximity, tone, etc., and the techniques involved with instructional methodology and content knowledge. If we respect our Islamic school teachers then we owe them training with the best in the field of education.
In this way we also recognize the sacred space of the classroom and the unique skill sets of a good teacher.
As a parent, I seek out experts in parenting to find out strategies to better connect with my children. As a teacher, I look for seasoned educators to help me connect with my students. I know the distinction and it’s one that I respect.