Aziz SoubaiAre Teachers Supposed to Be Managers?

by Aziz Soubai.

 

We all know that teachers do not only teach – if that was the case, it would be a nice, easy job. Teachers do several other jobs along the way. Before actual teaching begins, they first need to plan, prepare, and design their lesson plans. They also need to make sure that instructional time is not interrupted by potential troublemakers, which may often be the case especially in large classrooms full of low achievers. When (or if) that happens, teachers must find ways to bring their learners’ attention back, otherwise the class will get out of control. In short, successful teachers should be good planners, designers, psychologists, and assessors. Yet even that is not the end and there are other qualities to have and jobs to do involved in the noble teaching profession. I would like to focus on one such quality that is quite essential for the teaching process to work.

The quality or skill I will talk about is managing. The question is, “Can teachers also be managers?” I’m pretty sure that you already know the answer: they can and they very often are. However, you might as well wonder and ask how and when teachers can be managers.

In order to teach you need a classroom, a group of students, and materials. Right? But providing these does not guarantee effective teaching; you need something else. Students in the classroom form groups and alliances, those groups talk to each other, make noise, make decisions based on what they see that will affect the classroom atmosphere either positively or negatively. The social learning theory has proven that people learn from each other through observation, interaction and modeling, and that is what is happening in our classrooms every day.

If the teacher, instructor, tutor, or educator is not aware of the impact of this theory or does not have the right classroom management techniques (such as offering praise and badges, using differentiated instruction, and making eye contact), no learning will occur. In other words, teachers manage students’ behaviours and are supposed to have some influence on students’ actions and reactions. Managing behaviours is one of the non-teaching activities that all teachers do on a daily basis.

Managing in this sense means creating an environment conducive to teaching and learning. It also means addressing classroom issues in a proper fashion. The issues might involve, for example, where and how students should be seated or how to avoid or deal with possible personality clashes (this article comments in more detail on these particular challenges and more). The teacher should know exactly when to intervene and what to say. If the case is the other way around, the teacher will be a bad manager, which is bound to impact the learning process.

To finally answer the question that I posed earlier, I think teachers are already managers by nature and they are supposed to be managers for effective instruction to occur. To get the image clear in your mind, think of the teacher-manager as an orchestra maestro. Students or learners are the musicians and every one of them has a particular instrument playing a different tune. The maestro needs to arrange that chaos and turn it into beautiful music or a song, and to achieve that purpose he uses his hands, eyes, and most of all he has to master the language of conducting as you can see in this video.

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Aziz Soubai

Aziz Soubai is a Moroccan EFL teacher with more than 6 years of classroom experience. Soubai graduated from Ibn Zohr University with BA degree in English literature. With a passion for learning and teaching using technology, he was enrolled in several professional development courses designed by the International Teacher development Institute, Arizona State University and Coursera. He conducted many professional workshops mainly related to English Language instruction and effective classroom practices. Aziz is also an aspiring writer and a poet.

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