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Redefining the Role of the Teacher: It’s a Multifaceted Profession

A closer look at what being an educator really means.

Imagine a school where teaching is considered to be a profession rather than a trade. The role of teachers in a child's education -- and in American culture -- has fundamentally changed. Teaching differs from the old "show-and-tell" practices as much as modern medical techniques differ from practices such as applying leeches and bloodletting.

Instruction doesn't consist primarily of lecturing to students who sit in rows at desks, dutifully listening and recording what they hear, but, rather, offers every child a rich, rewarding, and unique learning experience. The educational environment isn't confined to the classroom but, instead, extends into the home and the community and around the world. Information isn't bound primarily in books; it's available everywhere in bits and bytes.

Students aren't consumers of facts. They are active creators of knowledge. Schools aren't just brick-and-mortar structures -- they're centers of lifelong learning. And, most important, teaching is recognized as one of the most challenging and respected career choices, absolutely vital to the social, cultural, and economic health of our nation.

Today, the seeds of such a dramatic transformation in education are being planted. Prompted by massive revolutions in knowledge, information technology, and public demand for better learning, schools nationwide are slowly but surely restructuring themselves.

Leading the way are thousands of teachers who are rethinking every part of their jobs -- their relationship with students, colleagues, and the community; the tools and techniques they employ; their rights and responsibilities; the form and content of curriculum; what standards to set and how to assess whether they are being met; their preparation as teachers and their ongoing professional development; and the very structure of the schools in which they work. In short, teachers are reinventing themselves and their occupation to better serve schools and students.

New Relationships and Practices

Traditionally, teaching was a combination of information-dispensing, custodial child care and sorting out academically inclined students from others. The underlying model for schools was an education factory in which adults, paid hourly or daily wages, kept like-aged youngsters sitting still for standardized lessons and tests.

Teachers were told what, when, and how to teach. They were required to educate every student in exactly the same way and were not held responsible when many failed to learn. They were expected to teach using the same methods as past generations, and any deviation from traditional practices was discouraged by supervisors or prohibited by myriad education laws and regulations. Thus, many teachers simply stood in front of the class and delivered the same lessons year after year, growing gray and weary of not being allowed to change what they were doing.

Many teachers today, however, are encouraged to adapt and adopt new practices that acknowledge both the art and science of learning. They understand that the essence of education is a close relationship between a knowledgeable, caring adult and a secure, motivated child. They grasp that their most important role is to get to know each student as an individual in order to comprehend his or her unique needs, learning style, social and cultural background, interests, and abilities.

This attention to personal qualities is all the more important as America continues to become the most pluralistic nation on Earth. Teachers have to be committed to relating to youngsters of many cultures, including those young people who, with traditional teaching, might have dropped out -- or have been forced out -- of the education system.

Their job is to counsel students as they grow and mature -- helping them integrate their social, emotional, and intellectual growth -- so the union of these sometimes separate dimensions yields the abilities to seek, understand, and use knowledge; to make better decisions in their personal lives; and to value contributing to society.

They must be prepared and permitted to intervene at any time and in any way to make sure learning occurs. Rather than see themselves solely as masters of subject matter such as history, math, or science, teachers increasingly understand that they must also inspire a love of learning.

In practice, this new relationship between teachers and students takes the form of a different concept of instruction. Tuning in to how students really learn prompts many teachers to reject teaching that is primarily lecture based in favor of instruction that challenges students to take an active role in learning.

They no longer see their primary role as being the king or queen of the classroom, a benevolent dictator deciding what's best for the powerless underlings in their care. They've found they accomplish more if they adopt the role of educational guides, facilitators, and co-learners.

The most respected teachers have discovered how to make students passionate participants in the instructional process by providing project-based, participatory, educational adventures. They know that in order to get students to truly take responsibility for their own education, the curriculum must relate to their lives, learning activities must engage their natural curiosity, and assessments must measure real accomplishments and be an integral part of learning.

Students work harder when teachers give them a role in determining the form and content of their schooling -- helping them create their own learning plans and deciding the ways in which they will demonstrate that they have, in fact, learned what they agreed to learn.

The day-to-day job of a teacher, rather than broadcasting content, is becoming one of designing and guiding students through engaging learning opportunities. An educator's most important responsibility is to search out and construct meaningful educational experiences that allow students to solve real-world problems and show they have learned the big ideas, powerful skills, and habits of mind and heart that meet agreed-on educational standards. The result is that the abstract, inert knowledge that students used to memorize from dusty textbooks comes alive as they participate in the creation and extension of new knowledge.

New Tools and Environments

One of the most powerful forces changing teachers' and students' roles in education is new technology. The old model of instruction was predicated on information scarcity. Teachers and their books were information oracles, spreading knowledge to a population with few other ways to get it.

But today's world is awash in information from a multitude of print and electronic sources. The fundamental job of teaching is no longer to distribute facts but to help children learn how to use them by developing their abilities to think critically, solve problems, make informed judgments, and create knowledge that benefits both the students and society. Freed from the responsibility of being primary information providers, teachers have more time to spend working one-on-one or with small groups of students.

Recasting the relationship between students and teachers demands that the structure of school changes as well. Though it is still the norm in many places to isolate teachers in cinderblock rooms with age-graded pupils who rotate through classes every hour throughout a semester -- or every year, in the case of elementary school -- this paradigm is being abandoned in more and more schools that want to give teachers the time, space, and support to do their jobs.

Extended instructional periods and school days, as well as reorganized yearly schedules, are all being tried as ways to avoid chopping learning into often arbitrary chunks based on limited time. Also, rather than inflexibly group students in grades by age, many schools feature mixed-aged classes in which students spend two or more years with the same teachers.

In addition, ability groups, from which those judged less talented can rarely break free, are being challenged by a recognition that current standardized tests do not measure many abilities or take into account the different ways people learn best.

One of the most important innovations in instructional organization is team teaching, in which two or more educators share responsibility for a group of students. This means that an individual teacher no longer has to be all things to all students. This approach allows teachers to apply their strengths, interests, skills, and abilities to the greatest effect, knowing that children won't suffer from their weaknesses, because there's someone with a different set of abilities to back them up.

To truly professionalize teaching, in fact, we need to further differentiate the roles a teacher might fill. Just as a good law firm has a mix of associates, junior partners, and senior partners, schools should have a greater mix of teachers who have appropriate levels of responsibility based on their abilities and experience levels. Also, just as much of a lawyer's work occurs outside the courtroom, so, too, should we recognize that much of a teacher's work is done outside the classroom.

New Professional Responsibilities

Aside from rethinking their primary responsibility as directors of student learning, teachers are also taking on other roles in schools and in their profession. They are working with colleagues, family members, politicians, academics, community members, employers, and others to set clear and obtainable standards for the knowledge, skills, and values we should expect America's children to acquire. They are participating in day-to-day decision making in schools, working side-by-side to set priorities, and dealing with organizational problems that affect their students' learning.

Many teachers also spend time researching various questions of educational effectiveness that expand the understanding of the dynamics of learning. And more teachers are spending time mentoring new members of their profession, making sure that education school graduates are truly ready for the complex challenges of today's classrooms.

Reinventing the role of teachers inside and outside the classroom can result in significantly better schools and better-educated students. But though the roots of such improvement are taking hold in today's schools, they need continued nurturing to grow and truly transform America's learning landscape. The rest of us -- politicians and parents, superintendents and school board members, employers and education school faculty -- must also be willing to rethink our roles in education to give teachers the support, freedom, and trust they need to do the essential job of educating our children.

Judith Taack Lanier is a distinguished professor of education at Michigan State University.

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Why Teachers Are Important in Society- Why Teachers Matter

Updated: February 7, 2024

Published: August 12, 2019


Teachers are arguably the most important members of our society. They give children purpose, set them up for success as citizens of our world, and inspire in them a drive to do well and succeed in life. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and teachers are that critical point that makes a child ready for their future. Why are teachers important? Let’s count the ways…

Teacher in front of students raising hands

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Why teachers are important in society, reasons why teachers matter.

Children carry what they are taught at a young age throughout the rest of their lives. They will use what they have learned to influence society. Everyone knows that today’s youth will become tomorrow’s leaders, and teachers have access to educate the youth in their most impressionable years — whether that is in teaching preschool, teaching extracurriculars, sports or traditional classes.

Teachers have the ability to shape leaders of the future in the best way for society to build positive and inspired future generations and therefore design society, both on a local and global scale. In reality, teachers have the most important job in the world. Those who have an impact on the children of society have the power to change lives. Not just for those children themselves, but for the lives of all.

Teacher teaching student on computer

Photo by  stem.T4L  on  Unsplash

How teachers bring change in a student’s life.

Great teachers have the ability to change lives for the better.

Teachers can act as a support system that is lacking elsewhere in students’ lives. They can be a role model and an inspiration to go further and to dream bigger. They hold students accountable for their successes and failures and good teachers won’t let their talented students get away with not living up to their full potential.

Teachers of all walks of life and subjects have the ability to shape opinions and help form ideas about society, life and personal goals. Teachers can also expand students’ limits and push their creativity.

Teaching is a tough job, but it is one where you can make the most impact in another person’s life. If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher, here are even more reasons why you should invest in a teaching career .

Role Models

Teachers are the ultimate role models for students. The fact that students come into contact with many different types of teachers in their academic career means that more likely than not, there will be a teacher that speaks to them.

The teacher-student connection is invaluable for some students, who may otherwise not have that stability. Teachers will stay positive for their students even when things can seem grim. A great teacher always has compassion for their students, understanding of their students’ personal lives, and appreciation for their academic goals and achievements. Teachers are role models for children to be positive, always try harder, and reach for the stars.

They Provide the Power of Education

Knowledge and education are the basis for all things that can be accomplished in life. Teachers provide the power of education to today’s youth, thereby giving them the possibility for a better future.

Teachers simplify the complex, and make abstract concepts accessible to students. Teachers also expose children to ideas and topics that they might otherwise not have come into contact with. They can expand on interests and push their students to do better.

Teachers don’t accept failure, and therefore, students are more likely to succeed. Teachers know when to push students, when to give a gentle nudge in the right direction, and when to let students figure it out on their own. But they won’t let a student give up.

Teacher provide guidance to students of all types.Teachers are able to see each child’s strengths and weaknesses and can provide assistance and guidance to either get them up to speed or push them higher.

They will help to reveal student’s best skills and teach valuable life skills as well, such as communication, compassion, presentation, organization, following directions, and more.

They are also a source of inspiration and motivation . Teachers inspire students to do well, and motivate them to work hard and keep their academic goals on track.

One of the most important parts of teaching is having dedication. Teachers not only listen, but also coach and mentor their students. They are able to help shape academic goals and are dedicated to getting their students to achieve them. Teachers have patience for their students and are understanding when a concept isn’t taking.

Teachers do what they do because they want to help others. They are not teaching for recognition or a paycheck but because they have a passion for youth and education. Teachers typically believe in the power of education and the importance of providing children with good role models and are teaching because of that belief. They are dedicated to the cause.

Finally, teachers’ dedication is shown by their ‘round-the-clock work habits. Teachers don’t stop working when the school bell rings. They are grading papers, making lessons, and communicating with parents after school and on weekends. Most teachers arrive earlier than school starts to set up their day and provide extra assistance to struggling students.

Teachers Play a Great Role in the Economic Development of the Country

Education is a fundamental aspect in the development of a country. If the youth of a society is educated, a future is born. Teachers provide the education that improves quality of life, therefore bringing so much to both individuals and society as a whole.

Teachers increase productivity and creativity of students and therefore, of future workers. When students are pushed to be creative and productive, they are more likely to be entrepreneurial and make technological advances, ultimately leading to economic development of a country.

The Most Important Characteristics of a Great Teacher

Teacher and student playing soccer and smiling

Photo by  Sebastián León Prado  on  Unsplash

The following attributes make the difference between a good teacher and a truly great teacher who becomes an inspiration to their students..

  • Compassion: Compassion is important not only when dealing with the students but also other teachers, other school staff, and parents.
  • Passion for Learning and Children: Teaching can be incredibly stressful, so great teachers must have a deep passion to keep them going every day.
  • Understanding: Teachers need a deep understanding of where their students are coming from — their backgrounds, their struggles, and their abilities.
  • Patience: Patience is key. This is very true of teaching, and not just patience with the students! Teachers also need patience in dealing with the school system, bureaucracy, and parents as well.
  • Ability to Be a Role Model: Teachers must come into work every day knowing their students will soak up their actions like sponges. They must show how to be a good person not just by telling, but also by being.
  • Communication Across Generations and Cultures: Teachers need to be able to effectively communicate with students from multiple cultures and generations, as well as teaching staff and superiors with various backgrounds and from other generations.
  • Willingness to Put in the Effort: If a teacher doesn’t care or doesn’t make the effort, their students won’t either. If a teacher shows students that they do truly care, they’ll do the same.

How to Become a Teacher

Student-teacher creating lesson plans

Photo by  Brooke Cagle  on  Unsplash

All this positive talk about teachers have you thinking you’re ready to become one the following steps will take you there., 1. get experience.

Before you start studying to become a teacher, be sure that you have the patience and temperament to work with children or teenagers for seven or more hours per day. If you still want to teach and make a difference but don’t think the traditional route will work for you, consider teaching after-school classes, coaching, or adult teaching opportunities.

2. Pre-K, K-8, or High School

This decision is an important one because it will make a difference for what degree or certificate you will need. Hopefully by now, you have some idea of the age group or subject matter you would like to teach. If not, get some experience to find out. For high school teachers, you’ll need to decide on a specialization during your studies.

3. Get a Degree

All full-time teaching jobs, even preschool, require degrees nowadays. University of the People in collaboration with the International Baccalaureate (IB) offers a Master’s Degree in Education that is 100% online, tuition-free, and US accredited. Any bachelor’s degree is accepted as a prerequisite so you can start your dream of becoming a teacher, no matter your background.

4. Get a Teaching Certificate

While some independent schools do not require a teaching certificate, the vast majority do. Some graduate programs will concurrently graduate students with a degree and a certificate at the same time but others will not. In some cases, you will only need a teaching certificate and not a degree, such as with teaching English.

Why are teachers important? Teachers truly are the backbone of society. They are role models to children, offer guidance and dedication and give young people the power of education. Because of teachers, countries are able to further develop socially and economically. Next time you or your community achieve something great, take a moment to think of and be grateful for the teachers who made it possible.

Related Articles

Essay on Teacher for Students and Children

500+ words essay on teacher.

Teachers are a special blessing from God to us. They are the ones who build a good nation and make the world a better place. A teacher teaches us the importance of a pen over that of a sword. They are much esteemed in society as they elevate the living standards of people. They are like the building blocks of society who educate people and make them better human beings .

Essay on Teacher

Moreover, teachers have a great impact on society and their student’s life. They also great importance in a parent’s life as parents expect a lot from teachers for their kids. However, like in every profession, there are both good and bad teachers. While there aren’t that many bad teachers, still the number is significant. A good teacher possesses qualities which a bad teacher does not. After identifying the qualities of a good teacher we can work to improve the teaching scenario.

A Good Teacher

A good teacher is not that hard to find, but you must know where to look. The good teachers are well-prepared in advance for their education goals. They prepare their plan of action every day to ensure maximum productivity. Teachers have a lot of knowledge about everything, specifically in the subject they specialize in. A good teacher expands their knowledge continues to provide good answers to their students.

Similarly, a good teacher is like a friend that helps us in all our troubles. A good teacher creates their individual learning process which is unique and not mainstream. This makes the students learn the subject in a better manner. In other words, a good teacher ensures their students are learning efficiently and scoring good marks.

Most importantly, a good teacher is one who does not merely focus on our academic performance but our overall development. Only then can a student truly grow. Thus, good teachers will understand their student’s problems and try to deal with them correctly. They make the student feel like they always have someone to talk to if they can’t do it at home or with their friends.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Impact of Teachers on a Student’s Life

Growing up, our parents and teachers are the first ones to impact our lives significantly. In fact, in the younger years, students have complete faith in their teachers and they listen to their teachers more than their parents. This shows the significance and impact of a teacher .

essay on roles of teacher

When we become older and enter college, teachers become our friends. Some even become our role models. They inspire us to do great things in life. We learn how to be selfless by teachers. Teachers unknowingly also teach very important lessons to a student.

For instance, when a student gets hurt in school, the teacher rushes them to the infirmary for first aid. This makes a student feel secure and that they know a teacher plays the role of a parent in school.

In other words, a teacher does not merely stick to the role of a teacher. They adapt into various roles as and when the need arises. They become our friends when we are sad, they care for us like our parents when we are hurt. Thus, we see how great a teacher impacts a student’s life and shapes it.

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What Is the Role of a Teacher?

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The primary role of a teacher is to deliver classroom instruction that helps students learn. To accomplish this, teachers must prepare effective lessons , grade student work and offer feedback, manage classroom materials, productively navigate the curriculum, and collaborate with other staff.

But being a teacher involves much more than executing lesson plans. Teaching is a highly sophisticated profession that regularly extends beyond academics. In addition to ensuring that students experience academic success, teachers must also function as surrogate parents, mentors and counselors, and even almost-politicians. There is almost no limit to the roles a teacher may play.

Teacher as Third Parents

Elementary school teachers contribute tremendously to student development. A child's experiences in their formative years shape them into the person they will become and teachers help in no small way to discover who that will be. Because teachers are such a big part of their students' lives, many develop almost parental relationships with them.

Due to the sheer amount of time that school is in session, teachers are tasked with being positive role models and mentors to their students every day. Students learn so much more than math, language arts, and social studies from their teachers—they learn social skills like how to be kind to others and make friends, when to ask for help or be independent, how to distinguish between right and wrong, and other life lessons that parents tend to echo. In many cases, students learn these things from teachers first.

The nuances of a teacher's role as a semi-parent largely depend on the age of their students but almost all teachers learn to care deeply for their students and always want the best for them. Whether a student is close with their teacher or not, they probably respect and revere them much like they do their own parents or guardians and teachers probably treat them as they would their own children. In some cases, teachers may be a student's only mentor.

Teachers as Intermediaries

Even though a teacher is often like a parent, that doesn't leave a child's real family out of the picture—teachers are only one part of a larger equation. Teaching demands almost daily communication with families about everything from academics to behavior. Some of the most common forms of parent-teacher interaction include:

  • Parent-teacher conferences
  • Progress reports
  • Weekly newsletters
  • Emails, texts, and calls
  • IEP meetings

On top of these standard practices, teachers must often explain their choices to parents and conciliate them when there is conflict. If a parent or guardian finds out about something going on in the classroom that they don't like, a teacher must be prepared to defend their choices and their students. They must make informed decisions about how to act in their students' favor and then be able to justify these, always standing firm but hearing families out.

Teachers are the middlemen between parents and their children in education and parents are easily frustrated when they don't understand how or why something is being taught. Teachers must keep families in the loop as much as possible to prevent this but also be ready if someone is displeased with their decisions. Teaching entails always championing what is best for students and explaining how practices are beneficial as needed.

Teachers as Advocates

A teacher's role is ever-changing. While teachers were once issued curriculum materials with a clear set of instructions detailing exactly how to teach them, this was not an equitable or effective approach because it did not acknowledge student individuality or real-life application. Now, teaching is responsive—it evolves to fit the needs and demands of any political and cultural climate.

A responsive teacher counsels their students to use the knowledge they learn in school to become valuable members of society. They advocate for being informed and productive citizens by educating about social justice and current events. Teachers must always be aware, ethical, equitable, and engaged.

The modern teaching profession also (often) includes advocating for students on a political level. Many teachers:

  • Work with politicians, colleagues, and community members to set clear and attainable standards for students.
  • Participate in the decision making to deal with problems affecting students' learning.
  • Mentor new teachers to prepare them to teach the youth of their generation.

A teacher's work is far-reaching and critical—the world just wouldn't be the same without it.

  • Ryan, Mary, and Theresa Bourke. “The Teacher as Reflexive Professional: Making Visible the Excluded Discourse in Teacher Standards.”   Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education , vol. 34, no. 3, 24 Aug. 2012, pp. 411–423.  Taylor & Francis Online .
  • Taack Lanier, Judith. “Redefining the Role of the Teacher: It's a Multifaceted Profession.”  Edutopia , George Lucas Educational Foundation, 1 July 1997.
  • “What Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers Do.”   U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook , United States Department of Labor, 4 Sept. 2019.
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The importance of teachers in our society.

The Importance of Teachers in Our Society

In many professions, it’s easy to overstate the importance of the job. But in the case of our educators, it’s more likely that people will underestimate the importance of teachers in our society.  

For those who have dedicated their lives to teaching others, it’s good to reflect on the vital importance well-educated , quality teachers play in shaping the world around us.   

Taking on the task of shaping young minds is a big responsibility. To say that teachers can change lives is not an exaggeration. Consider some of the following vital roles that truly illustrate the importance of teachers.  

Importance of Teachers as Role Models  

It’s interesting that so much public debate centers around celebrities, athletes and even politicians serving as role models. The truth is, outside of their own home, one of the biggest role models in a young person’s life is standing at the front of the classroom.   

Teachers are people to look up to and emulate. Nearly everyone has a teacher (in many cases, quite a few teachers) who they admired and who provided them with an example of how to conduct themselves.  

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Power of Education  

Teaching students information in a way that they will remember and put to use is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give to another person. Doing so opens students’ eyes to new ways of looking at life. While so much emphasis today is on learning the hard skills necessary to excel in a certain profession – particularly in the postsecondary environment – much of the “life-changing stuff” happens in the younger years as children accumulate knowledge at the hands of a good teacher.  

Yes, schools have guidance counselors. But almost every teacher will find themselves approached by students in one way or the other. They seek advice on everything from academic interests to issues related to their personal lives. Within the classroom, teachers also serve as a sounding board for students’ thoughts on everything from historical events to the meaning found in a literary work. Teachers also provide guidance on pursuing higher education and participating in events that encourage growth in a young person.  The importance of teachers as guides for children as they consider furthering their education is immeasurable.


The best teachers also inspire their students to work harder and push themselves. They encourage students to understand the importance of dedicating themselves to passion projects or endeavors. And success builds upon success. The more a student pushes themselves to accomplish their goals, the more they realize what they are capable of doing.  

How can anyone put a value on something like that?  

Teaching can be a tough, complex job. As with any profession, there are days that are hard to get through. But for those who have committed their lives to the profession, they are joining the ranks of some of the brightest minds – and most important people – that students will come across in their lives.  

Are you ready to become a teacher and inspire your students to work harder and reach their goals? Learn about the various Masters in Education Programs offered online at Merrimack College or apply today !

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Essay on Teacher: Our Friend, Philosopher and Guide in 100, 250 & 300 Words

essay on roles of teacher

  • Updated on  
  • Mar 22, 2024

essay on teacher

Teachers are like the guiding stars in our educational journey. They shine our path with knowledge and encouragement. A teacher is a person who helps us learn and grow. They are the ones who guide us through our education and help us to become the best versions of ourselves. Teachers come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they are passionate about teaching. In this blog, we’ll explore the enchanting role of teachers through the eyes of a student, celebrating their invaluable contributions to our lives.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Why are Teachers Important?
  • 2 Sample Essay on Teacher in 100 Words
  • 3 Sample Essay on Teacher in 250 Words
  • 4 Sample Essay on Teacher in 300 Words

Why are Teachers Important?

Teachers help mould today’s youth into the responsible adults of tomorrow. What teachers teach the children at their young age, makes an impact on the students that stays with them for the rest of their lives.

The power of moulding the next generation into great leaders lies in the hands of teachers. This holds the potential of uplifting the society in the near future. Indirectly, teachers are the key to transforming millions of lives all around the globe.

Sample Essay on Teacher in 100 Words

A teacher is a person who helps us understand ourselves. They are the supporters who help us through tough times. Teachers are important because they help us to become the best versions of ourselves. They are like superheroes with the power to ignite our curiosity and help us grow. They teach us numbers, alphabets, and fascinating stories. They are patient listeners, ready to answer our questions and wipe away our doubts. They inspire us to dream big and show us that with hard work, we can achieve anything. A teacher’s love is like a warm hug that makes learning exciting and enjoyable.

Also Read: Teacher Self Introduction to Students and Samples

Sample Essay on Teacher in 250 Words

Teachers are magical beings who turn the pages of our books into captivating adventures. Teachers create colorful classrooms where learning becomes joyous. Their dedication is seen when they explain complex problems in simple ways and solve problems in math and science. With smiles on their faces, they teach us history, nurture our creativity through art, music, and storytelling, and help us express our feelings and thoughts.

Apart from books, teachers also impart life lessons. They teach us to be kind, respectful, and responsible citizens. They show us the value of friendship and the importance of helping others. Teachers celebrate our achievements, no matter how small, and cheer us on during challenges.

A teacher is a person who has a profound impact on our lives. They are the ones who teach us the things we need to know to succeed in life, both academically and personally. They are also there to support us and help us through tough times.

There are many different qualities that make a good teacher. Some of the most important qualities include patience, understanding, and a love of teaching. Good teachers are also able to connect with their students and make learning fun. A good teacher can make a real difference in a student’s life. They can help students develop their talents and abilities, and they can also help them to become confident and self-motivated learners.

Also Read- How to Become a Teacher?

Sample Essay on Teacher in 300 Words

In a world, teachers are essential as they bridge the gap between the unknown and the known. They take the time to understand each student’s unique needs and help them modify and hone their skills. In this process of our learning, they become a friend, philosophers, and guides.

Teachers are more than just knowledge sharers. They are like gardeners, nurturing the seeds of kindness, respect, and responsibility in a student’s heart. They teach us to be a good friend and have empathy. They also encourage us to care for our planet, reminding us that we are its custodians.

As we journey through school, teachers become our guides, showing us the various paths we can take. They encourage us to discover our passions, whether it’s solving math puzzles, painting masterpieces, or playing musical notes. They celebrate our victories, whether big or small and help us learn from our mistakes, turning them into stepping stones toward success. 

A good teacher can make a real difference in a student’s life. They can help students to develop their talents and abilities, and they can also help them to become confident and self-motivated learners.

I am grateful for all the teachers who have helped me along the way. They have taught me so much, and they have helped me to become the person I am today. I know that I would not be where I am without them.

Remember, each day with a teacher is a new adventure, a new opportunity to learn, and a new chance to grow. So, young learners, let’s raise our hands and give a cheer to our teachers, the real-life magicians who make education a truly enchanting place to live.

Also Read – Self Introduction for Teacher Interview

Related Reads:-     

A. Here are two lines lines for a good teacher: Teachers are like shining stars guiding us to the path of knowledge. Teachers are our guardian angels.

A. A teacher is not an acronym, so there is no full form for it, yet some students exhibit affection for their teacher. It also allows one to express creativity. Following are some popular full forms of Teacher: T – Talented, E-Educated, A-Adorable, C-Charming, H-Helpful. E-Encouraging, R-Responsible.

A. A teacher is an educator or a person who helps one acquire knowledge and imparts wisdom through teaching methods.

This brings us to the end of our blog on Essay on Teacher. Hope you find this information useful. For more information on such informative topics for your school, visit our essay writing and follow Leverage Edu . 

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Roles and Responsibilities of a Teacher

Roles and Responsibilities of a Teacher: Complete Guide

Teaching is a noble profession that encompasses a diverse array of roles and responsibilities. Beyond simply imparting knowledge, teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the minds and lives of their students.

Over the years, the role of a teacher has evolved significantly, reflecting changes in educational practices, societal expectations, and technological advancements.

Table of Contents

Facilitating Learning

At the core of a teacher’s role is facilitating learning. This involves creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment where all students feel valued and empowered to succeed.

Effective teachers recognize their students’ diverse needs and learning styles and adapt their teaching methods accordingly. They employ various instructional strategies, from hands-on activities to collaborative projects, to engage students and foster critical thinking skills.

Curriculum Development and Lesson Planning

Teachers are responsible for developing and implementing a well-rounded curriculum that meets educational standards and addresses the needs of their students. This involves careful planning and preparation to ensure that lessons are informative and engaging. By designing creative and relevant lesson plans, teachers can capture students’ interest and inspire a lifelong love of learning.

Assessment and Evaluation

Assessment is integral to the teaching process, allowing teachers to gauge students’ progress and understanding. Teachers design and administer various evaluations, including tests, quizzes, projects, and presentations, to measure student learning outcomes. They provide constructive feedback to students, helping them identify areas for improvement and celebrate their successes.

Classroom Management

Effective classroom management is essential for creating a positive and productive learning environment. Teachers establish clear expectations for behavior and academic performance and implement strategies to maintain order and minimize disruptions. By fostering a sense of community and mutual respect, teachers create an atmosphere where students feel safe and motivated to learn.

Classroom Management

Professional Development

As lifelong learners themselves, teachers are committed to ongoing professional development. They seek opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills through workshops, conferences, or advanced coursework.

By staying abreast of the latest research and best practices in education, teachers continually refine their teaching methods and adapt to the evolving needs of their students.

Mentorship and Guidance

Teachers serve as mentors and guides, supporting and encouraging their students as they navigate academic and personal challenges. They offer advice and guidance on educational and career choices, helping students set goals and develop action plans for achieving them. By building solid relationships based on trust and respect, teachers empower students to reach their full potential.

Collaboration with Stakeholders

Education is a collaborative endeavor that requires the cooperation of various stakeholders, including parents, colleagues, and community members. Teachers work closely with parents and guardians to support student learning and address any concerns or issues that may arise.

They also collaborate with colleagues to share resources, exchange ideas, and develop innovative teaching strategies. Teachers enrich the educational experience and broaden students’ horizons by engaging with the community.

Advocacy and Ethical Responsibilities

Teachers are advocates for their students, championing their rights and ensuring equitable access to educational opportunities. They uphold ethical standards and professional integrity, demonstrating fairness, honesty, and respect in all their interactions.

Teachers promote inclusivity, diversity, and anti-discrimination practices in education, creating an environment where all students feel valued and accepted.

The Role of Technology in Teaching

The Role of Technology in Teaching

In today’s digital age, technology is increasingly vital in education. Teachers harness the power of technology to enhance teaching and learning experiences, incorporating digital tools and resources into their curriculum. From interactive whiteboards to online learning platforms, technology offers new opportunities for collaboration, creativity, and engagement in the classroom.

Addressing Challenges in Modern Education

Modern education faces numerous challenges, from changing educational standards to societal pressures and technological disruptions. Teachers must adapt to these challenges, finding innovative solutions to meet the needs of their students.

They must navigate the complexities of standardized testing and accountability measures while also addressing their students’ emotional and psychological needs.

The Future of Teaching

As we look to the future, the role of teachers will continue to evolve in response to changing educational trends and societal needs. Teachers will be critical in preparing students for an uncertain and rapidly changing world, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

By embracing innovation and embracing the opportunities of the digital age, teachers will continue to inspire and empower future generations.

Conclusion of Roles and Responsibilities of a Teacher

In conclusion, the role of a teacher is multifaceted and complex, encompassing a wide range of responsibilities and duties. From facilitating learning and curriculum development to mentorship and advocacy, teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the future of society.

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Essay on teacher: qualities, roles and responsibilities.

essay on roles of teacher


Read this article to learn about the qualities, roles and responsibilities of teacher in a school.

Qualities of a Good Teacher in School:

The teacher plays an important role in school. He is not simply to impart knowledge but also mould the habits, traits and character of pupils. He is to achieve educational objectives through the curriculum of the school.

In order to discharge his duties effectively he must possess certain qualities and qualifications which may be described as under:

1. General Academic Background:

The teacher is required to answer questions which require fair command of subject. He should have sufficient knowledge so far as the pupils are concerned. That is why minimum qualifications are laid down for the appointment of teachers in schools. For primary school, the teachers should be at least matriculate. For middle schools, the teacher should be at least graduate. For high schools, the teacher should be an M.A. In addition to knowledge of his subject, he should have sufficient general knowledge. For this he should have literary tastes. He must be a well read person.

2. Professional Efficiency:

Knowledge of the subject matter is not sufficient to be a good teacher. A first rate scholar may be a poor teacher. He must have some pre-service training, so that he is conversant with things and outcomes of teaching. While in service, he should attend short-term refresher courses, workshops, seminars and educational conferences so that he goes on adding to this professional efficiency. The teacher should have a sense of dedication to the teaching profession. He should be dedicated to teaching and teach enthusiastically. Teacher’s enthusiasm, professional insight and sense of dedication are his valuable assets.

3. Personality Traits:

Teacher’s personality traits have deep impact on the pupils.

The following traits in the teacher are worth mentioning here:

(1) Love for children:

The teacher must love his pupils. He must understand them individually and try to help them in overcoming their difficulties. His attitude should be sympathetic and friendly.

(2) A man of character:

The teacher should have high moral character. He should have sound principle of life as his ideas and conduct will affect the children profoundly.

(3) Emotionally Stable:

The teacher must be emotionally stable. He must be free from complexes, worries and frustration. An emotionally unstable teacher cannot do justice to his work.

(4) Good expression:

The teacher must be able to express his thoughts clearly His oral and written expression must be good. He has to write reports and so many other things. His speech, pronunciation and voice must also be impressive.

(5) Sense of Humour:

In the school, the teacher should have smiling face and a cheerful look while teaching. His sense of humour will help him to overcome very serious situations, which can be sometimes laughed away.

(6) Social Traits:

The teacher should be sociable in nature. He must maintain good relations with his colleagues, pupils and their parents and general public. He must be mixing with people. Only then he will be able to develop social virtues in students.

(7) Leadership quality:

The teacher should be able to provide effective leadership to the children who are immature and need guidance in matters of study, activities and other courses etc.

Role of the Teacher:

Teaching is a complicated job. It is not mere communication of knowledge to the student. Even knowledge cannot be handed over to students like currency. The teacher has to attend to a number of factors while working in the school.

Some of his functions may be discussed as under :

1. Role in Teaching:

Teaching is the first and foremost duty of the teacher. The teacher should prepare his lessons regularly. He must motivate the pupils and use methods and techniques of teaching suitable for particular group of students. He must always try to improve his teaching skills. He should give regular home work and check it regularly. Activities on the part of pupils should be properly stimulated and directed.

2. Role in Planning:

In order to be a successful teacher, the teacher must plan his work well. At the first place he should plan his teaching work. He should decide how much work is to be done in a particular month and in a particular week. Daily teaching work must also be planned. He should plan use of teaching aids in advance. Activities of the pupils are also to be planned by him.

3. Role in Organizing:

The teacher has to organize a number of activities in the school. He has to organize the school plant. He should see that the class-rooms are well-equipped. He has to make seating arrangements, distribute equipment’s and keep it neat and clean.

He has to organize instructional works dividing the syllabus into units, classification of students, construction of time-table and co-curricular activities are also to be organised. Besides library work, laboratory work, sports etc. need proper organisation.

4. Role in Supervising:

The teacher has to supervise a number of tasks and activities. He is required to supervise attendance of pupils, their daily work, home work, their work habits and behaviour. He has to maintain order and discipline in the school. He may have to supervise pupils in the hostel.

5. Role in Guiding:

The teacher not only supervises pupils and their work but also gives them tasks relating to selection of courses, home work, and other study activities. Pupils study habits and work habits have to be guided properly. He must pay attention to all children particularly to the delinquent, abnormal and mal-adjusted children. Guidance in health matters is also to be given.

6. Role in Evaluating:

Work of the pupils and their participation should be evaluated by the teacher from time to time. It is evaluation which will throw light on teachers’ work and pupil’s achievement. Evaluation will point out weakness in teaching and learning process and the teacher can adopt suitable remedial measures. The teacher has to conduct house tests and report the progress of pupils to parents and the headmaster. Policies of promotion have to be chalked out in the light of evaluation.

7. Role in Recording:

The teacher has to maintain record of pupil’s achievement in different subjects and activities. He has to record their admission, attendance, their scores, in different tests. The teacher may also be required to maintain school records such as property register, supply of equipment, issue of book etc. He also has to write annual reports of various activities and functions done during the year.

8. Role in Maintaining Relations:

It is the duty of the teacher to maintain good relations with the pupils, their parents and general public. For this purpose, parents teachers association may be organised by the teacher. The relationship with parents will solve many problems. The teacher must have healthy and cordial relations with the headmaster and his colleagues. For all this the teacher should posses a sociable nature.

Responsibilities of a Teacher:

Teaching is a tri-polar process which has three indispensable elements or constituents-the teacher or educator, the taught or educed and the curriculum. Out of these three, the teacher plays the most significant role in making the teaching process a grand success. Because the teacher is the real practitioner of the teaching learning process.

He is the pivot in any system of education around which the whole system of education revolves. It is dead sure that the importance of school building, school furniture and equipment, curriculum, the text-books cannot be ignored. But without the teacher, they all are meaningless. But it is not simply the teacher, rather good teachers that are required in this connection. Dr, E.A, Piry says, “If a nations teachers are C3 the nation itself cannot but the C3, and let there be no doubt about this if we wish to be an A-1 nation our teachers will have to be A-1”.

The importance of good teachers is emphasized by Professor, Humayun Kabir by saying without good teachers, even the best of system is bound to fail. With good teachers, even the defects of the system can be largely overcome. The importance of the teacher is also stressed by the Secondary Education Commission (1952-53) in the following words: “We are however convinced that the most important factor in the contemplated educational reconstruction is the teacher—his personal qualities, his educational qualification, his professional training and the place he occupies in the school as well as in the community.

In the words of The Education Commission (1964-66), “of all the different factors which influence the quality of education, and in contribution to material development, the quality, the competence and character of teacher are undoubtedly the most significant. After having such discussion it will be better if we provide an insight into the role or duties and responsibilities after having discussion on the qualification or qualities of a good teacher.

Related Articles:

  • Teacher Education and Professional Values
  • Top 7 Major Roles of a Headmaster

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Role of A Teacher Essay: Write It Easily

Jared Houdi

Table of Contents

Teachers stay in the lives of their students forever: either in memories of carefree times or in the form of knowledge they received from a certain teacher. All of us are influenced by teachers from high school or university. And everyone has a different experience. So how to write essays about teachers ? Let’s find out together.

What Is the Role of a Teacher Essay?

This is a type of essay in which students describe the role of teachers in their lives. Many courses will assign you to write an essay about this theme. Also, it may serve as a strong personal statement when applying for college. So no matter what the purpose of the role of the teacher essay is, students always struggle with what to write in this academic piece of writing. If you are one of such students, you definitely need to go on and make it clear for yourself. 

What to Write About in Teacher Essays ?

There are a lot of ideas on what should essays about teachers consist of. Because this is a huge field of discussion, it might be quite challenging to structure the information properly. Let’s get to the simple question: who is a teacher for you? By defining what role a teacher plays in your academic and personal life, you will be able to get your essay written in an appropriate manner. Here are the roles teachers occupy:

  • Teachers give knowledge. First of all, a teacher is a person who teaches. It might sound simple but people in that profession are responsible for improving their student’s knowledge in a certain field. 
  • They support. Another mission of a good teacher is to support students in their educational journey. Sometimes it is harder, other times it is easier and you can definitely feel that teachers are those who are going along with you through the challenges.
  • Teachers inspire. Who is the first standard of knowledge for students? Of course, their teachers. Good ones always inspire students to learn more through their examples. So why don’t you share your experience in having a teacher that is a standard for you?
  • They evaluate. Constructive criticism is what is needed for growth. Dedicated teachers always find a way to motivate students for better results. They don’t just put an F grade but explain the growth zones. 

How to Write Essays About Teacher

Essays about teachers don’t have a specific structure or flow. Unless you are given a manual on what to write about in your work, you can be creative in your own way. The following ideas will help you in writing your role of a teacher essay.

Think About a Real Example

When writing your essay, think over the teachers that are standards for you. Analyze what skills they have, and how they teach the material and influence you. You can describe your own example as providing real-life experience in an essay is always a good idea.

Consider This Profession From Different Angles

As we mentioned above, a teacher is not only a person who shares expertise in a certain field. This is a motivator, influencer, evaluator, and supporter in one profession. Describing a teacher from a different perspective will greatly complement your work.

Imagine That You Are a Teacher

In essays about teachers , you can also write about how you would teach if you were a teacher. Thus, you will apply this profession to yourself and see how challenging it might be to become a teacher, even imaginary.

Essay About a Good Teacher: Final Words

Writing the role of a teacher essay requires thorough preparation. Even though this piece of writing is more flexible than other ones, you have to conduct deep analysis to write a professional essay. Use your own examples and look at this theme from different perspectives and you will write a high-quality essay.

What is the role of the teacher essay?

The role of the teacher essay is an essay in which the profession of a teacher is described. Its purpose is to provide readers with a clear understanding of how teachers are valuable and important in our lives.

What is the role of a teacher in the life of a student essay?

In this type of essay, you have to write about teacher-student cooperation. Teachers play a crucial role in the lives of their students. Sometimes they become their “school parents’’. That is what should be described in this type of academic writing. 

What is a good sentence for a teacher?

The best way to describe any teacher is to look at his profession from different angles. Teachers don’t only teach. They perform a lot more functions in the educational process. Describing these functions will be a good sentence for a teacher. 

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Over their careers, teachers tacitly construct and reconstruct a conceptual sense of who they are (their self-image) and what they do (their professional role identity). Teacher role identity includes teacher beliefs, values, and emotions about many aspects of teaching and being a teacher. Role identity is about how people come to understand themselves, not only in terms of what labels that may have been bestowed or have had thrust on them such as “wonderful,” “smart,” but also as Urrieta (2007: 107) has suggested, how they “come to ‘figure’ who they are, through the ‘worlds’ that they participate in and how they relate to others within and outside of these worlds.” For teachers, professional self-image is also usually balanced with a variety of roles they feel that they have to play (Volkman and Anderson, 1998). This includes all the functional roles a teacher uses while performing his or her duties, what they feel and believe about teaching and being a teacher, and how these are shaped by the teacher’s evolving philosophy of teaching (Walkington, 2005). For the purposes of this chapter, teacher role identity indicates the configuration of interpretations that language teachers attach to themselves, as related to the different roles they enact and the different professional activities that they participate in as well as how others see these roles and activities.

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Farrell, T.S.C. (2013). Reflection on Teachers’ Roles. In: Reflective Practice in ESL Teacher Development Groups. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137317193_7

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Early Childhood Development: Teacher’s Responsibilities Essay


Teacher is responsible for creating an effective classroom for elementary students.

Teacher is the first person to give children basic knowledge on diversity issues and to train them on social inclusion. One of the primary responsibilities is to encourage and promote student’s thinking abilities. It can be achieved through activities requiring participation. For example, a teacher can tell students a short story and ask them to express their opinion. This activity helps to develop critical thinking abilities as well as to encourage active participation of all students. All children should have an opportunity to share their thoughts.

Moreover, the teacher should motivate students to be tolerant towards opinions of others.

Greater student success can be achieved through fair reward system. In particular, every time the teacher gives an assignment, every student who managed to accomplish it should be rewarded. Moreover, it is vital to encourage those students who failed to accomplish their assignments. Teacher is responsible for rewarding efforts as well. Thus, when students feel that their work brings results, they are more motivated to perform better. The following activity could be proposed: the teacher gives students an assignment to write a short story about their family. Children should not be limited by length of time. Next, every student should have an opportunity to read aloud his story. Finally, a teacher should reward all students verbally for the work they have done.

In addition, the teacher is responsible for social and emotional development of the students. The most effective activity to ensure social development is working in groups. The teacher should create an assignment and divide students into several groups (no more than 3-5 groups).

It is vital to explain what students are expected to achieve and to ensure that every student understands what he or she should do as a team member. Moreover, the teacher should motivate students to cooperate with each other. For example, the teacher should say that the all members of the best team will be rewarded equally. Group activities help students to achieve greater success as well as to develop social skills.

Emotional development of the students can be ensured through training sessions. In particular, the teacher should prepare weekly activities for educational purposes.

Moreover, the discussions during these activities should be encouraged to allow students to express their thoughts, to listen to others, and to react to ideas of others. Without active communication with other students, young students cannot develop emotionally and socially.

Diversity and equity among the students should be promoted by the teacher. In particular, the teacher should prepare interesting materials (short movies, colorful illustrations, and engaging stories) about different cultures and ethnic groups. The special emphasis should be made on recognition of differences and the need to understand them. Children should be taught about diversity issues and be aware of cultural differences.

The teacher might ask them to learn something new about the foreign culture and deliver short speech in classroom.

The most effective technique to promote equity among young students is to create a bias-free classroom setting and to ensure that all children receive equal attention from the teacher.

Finally, teacher is responsible to provide basic knowledge and ideas on such issues as cooperation, teamwork, social inclusion, discrimination, diversity, equity, rewards, success, and achievement to students.

From the early childhood, students should learn about the importance of personal success and value of collaboration.

Teachers should ensure that activities offered to students are interesting and engaging. If students are not interested to participate, they will not learn from activity.

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Building the Next Generation of Teachers Through Apprenticeship

A teacher stands in the doorway of a classroom, giving high fives to young children as they enter.

Registered Apprenticeship is an effective "earn and learn" model with a long history of establishing career pathways in growing industries by providing structured, paid, on-the-job learning experiences with a mentor combined with job-related technical instruction that leads to a nationally recognized credential. To learn more about Registered Apprenticeships, visit www.apprenticeship.gov .

Building on the Biden administration’s Good Jobs Initiative, we’re expanding Registered Apprenticeships for educators and investing in quality teacher preparation programs. These efforts started with a joint effort, leadership, and call to action from our departments through a Dear Colleague Letter for education and workforce leaders to address educator shortages, and investments to support developing, expanding and scaling high-quality and affordable pathways into teaching. This call to action aims to ensure teachers have access to increased pay and better working conditions across the early childhood, K-12 and higher education workforce.  

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has continued to partner with the Department of Education to make significant investments to develop and scale teacher apprenticeship programs, including: 

We also recently announced the availability of nearly $200 million to support Registered Apprenticeship expansion, prioritizing projects that support the Investing in America agenda by increasing access to Registered Apprenticeships in high-demand sectors and occupations, including K-12 teacher occupations. Strategies to use Registered Apprenticeship to train a next generation of teachers continue to expand, with 37 states and territories now providing K-12 teacher apprenticeship programs, up from just two states in 2022. Today, over 100 K-12 teacher Registered Apprenticeship programs have been registered and over 3,000 K-12 teacher apprentices have been trained. That’s a lot of progress made in just two years! And this administration is committed to ensuring that progress continues. 

To support raising awareness around K-12 teacher Registered Apprenticeships, ETA industry intermediary partner RTI International published a Profile in Educator Registered Apprenticeship Programs report, which explores different program design models, varying target populations, modernized onramps to successful teacher pathways, innovative funding models, and opportunities for degree attainment. 

The report is the first in a series, which ETA will release in partnership with RTI to explore various strategies to expand the use of Registered Apprenticeship to train America’s educators. K-12 teacher Registered Apprenticeship programs will continue to play a key role in increasing pathways to rewarding careers in the education sector, filling vacant positions with high-quality, well-trained teachers, and a focus on diversifying the workforce.  For additional information on any of these programs, please visit Apprenticeship.gov.

  • Employment and Training Administration (ETA)
  • apprenticeship
  • Education Department
  • Registered Apprenticeship


Youth Apprenticeship Week May 5-11, 2024.

Home — Essay Samples — Education — Teaching — Being A Teacher


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Illustration of a missile made from words.

In the campus protests over the war in Gaza, language and rhetoric are—as they have always been when it comes to Israel and Palestine—weapons of mass destruction.

By Zadie Smith

A philosophy without a politics is common enough. Aesthetes, ethicists, novelists—all may be easily critiqued and found wanting on this basis. But there is also the danger of a politics without a philosophy. A politics unmoored, unprincipled, which holds as its most fundamental commitment its own perpetuation. A Realpolitik that believes itself too subtle—or too pragmatic—to deal with such ethical platitudes as thou shalt not kill. Or: rape is a crime, everywhere and always. But sometimes ethical philosophy reënters the arena, as is happening right now on college campuses all over America. I understand the ethics underpinning the protests to be based on two widely recognized principles:

There is an ethical duty to express solidarity with the weak in any situation that involves oppressive power.

If the machinery of oppressive power is to be trained on the weak, then there is a duty to stop the gears by any means necessary.

The first principle sometimes takes the “weak” to mean “whoever has the least power,” and sometimes “whoever suffers most,” but most often a combination of both. The second principle, meanwhile, may be used to defend revolutionary violence, although this interpretation has just as often been repudiated by pacifistic radicals, among whom two of the most famous are, of course, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr . In the pacifist’s interpretation, the body that we must place between the gears is not that of our enemy but our own. In doing this, we may pay the ultimate price with our actual bodies, in the non-metaphorical sense. More usually, the risk is to our livelihoods, our reputations, our futures. Before these most recent campus protests began, we had an example of this kind of action in the climate movement. For several years now, many people have been protesting the economic and political machinery that perpetuates climate change, by blocking roads, throwing paint, interrupting plays, and committing many other arrestable offenses that can appear ridiculous to skeptics (or, at the very least, performative), but which in truth represent a level of personal sacrifice unimaginable to many of us.

I experienced this not long ago while participating in an XR climate rally in London. When it came to the point in the proceedings where I was asked by my fellow-protesters whether I’d be willing to commit an arrestable offense—one that would likely lead to a conviction and thus make travelling to the United States difficult or even impossible—I’m ashamed to say that I declined that offer. Turns out, I could not give up my relationship with New York City for the future of the planet. I’d just about managed to stop buying plastic bottles (except when very thirsty) and was trying to fly less. But never to see New York again? What pitiful ethical creatures we are (I am)! Falling at the first hurdle! Anyone who finds themselves rolling their eyes at any young person willing to put their own future into jeopardy for an ethical principle should ask themselves where the limits of their own commitments lie—also whether they’ve bought a plastic bottle or booked a flight recently. A humbling inquiry.

It is difficult to look at the recent Columbia University protests in particular without being reminded of the campus protests of the nineteen-sixties and seventies, some of which happened on the very same lawns. At that time, a cynical political class was forced to observe the spectacle of its own privileged youth standing in solidarity with the weakest historical actors of the moment, a group that included, but was not restricted to, African Americans and the Vietnamese. By placing such people within their ethical zone of interest, young Americans risked both their own academic and personal futures and—in the infamous case of Kent State—their lives. I imagine that the students at Columbia—and protesters on other campuses—fully intend this echo, and, in their unequivocal demand for both a ceasefire and financial divestment from this terrible war, to a certain extent they have achieved it.

But, when I open newspapers and see students dismissing the idea that some of their fellow-students feel, at this particular moment, unsafe on campus, or arguing that such a feeling is simply not worth attending to, given the magnitude of what is occurring in Gaza, I find such sentiments cynical and unworthy of this movement. For it may well be—within the ethical zone of interest that is a campus, which was not so long ago defined as a safe space, delineated by the boundary of a generation’s ethical ideas— it may well be that a Jewish student walking past the tents, who finds herself referred to as a Zionist, and then is warned to keep her distance, is, in that moment, the weakest participant in the zone. If the concept of safety is foundational to these students’ ethical philosophy (as I take it to be), and, if the protests are committed to reinserting ethical principles into a cynical and corrupt politics, it is not right to divest from these same ethics at the very moment they come into conflict with other imperatives. The point of a foundational ethics is that it is not contingent but foundational. That is precisely its challenge to a corrupt politics.

Practicing our ethics in the real world involves a constant testing of them, a recognition that our zones of ethical interest have no fixed boundaries and may need to widen and shrink moment by moment as the situation demands. (Those brave students who—in supporting the ethical necessity of a ceasefire—find themselves at painful odds with family, friends, faith, or community have already made this calculation.) This flexibility can also have the positive long-term political effect of allowing us to comprehend that, although our duty to the weakest is permanent, the role of “the weakest” is not an existential matter independent of time and space but, rather, a contingent situation, continually subject to change. By contrast, there is a dangerous rigidity to be found in the idea that concern for the dreadful situation of the hostages is somehow in opposition to, or incompatible with, the demand for a ceasefire. Surely a ceasefire—as well as being an ethical necessity—is also in the immediate absolute interest of the hostages, a fact that cannot be erased by tearing their posters off walls.

Part of the significance of a student protest is the ways in which it gives young people the opportunity to insist upon an ethical principle while still being, comparatively speaking, a more rational force than the supposed adults in the room, against whose crazed magical thinking they have been forced to define themselves. The equality of all human life was never a self-evident truth in racially segregated America. There was no way to “win” in Vietnam. Hamas will not be “eliminated.” The more than seven million Jewish human beings who live in the gap between the river and the sea will not simply vanish because you think that they should. All of that is just rhetoric. Words. Cathartic to chant, perhaps, but essentially meaningless. A ceasefire, meanwhile, is both a potential reality and an ethical necessity. The monstrous and brutal mass murder of more than eleven hundred people, the majority of them civilians, dozens of them children, on October 7th, has been followed by the monstrous and brutal mass murder (at the time of writing) of a reported fourteen thousand five hundred children. And many more human beings besides, but it’s impossible not to notice that the sort of people who take at face value phrases like “surgical strikes” and “controlled military operation” sometimes need to look at and/or think about dead children specifically in order to refocus their minds on reality.

To send the police in to arrest young people peacefully insisting upon a ceasefire represents a moral injury to us all. To do it with violence is a scandal. How could they do less than protest, in this moment? They are putting their own bodies into the machine. They deserve our support and praise. As to which postwar political arrangement any of these students may favor, and on what basis they favor it—that is all an argument for the day after a ceasefire. One state, two states, river to the sea—in my view, their views have no real weight in this particular moment, or very little weight next to the significance of their collective action, which (if I understand it correctly) is focussed on stopping the flow of money that is funding bloody murder, and calling for a ceasefire, the political euphemism that we use to mark the end of bloody murder. After a ceasefire, the criminal events of the past seven months should be tried and judged, and the infinitely difficult business of creating just, humane, and habitable political structures in the region must begin anew. Right now: ceasefire. And, as we make this demand, we might remind ourselves that a ceasefire is not, primarily, a political demand. Primarily, it is an ethical one.

But it is in the nature of the political that we cannot even attend to such ethical imperatives unless we first know the political position of whoever is speaking. (“Where do you stand on Israel/Palestine?”) In these constructed narratives, there are always a series of shibboleths, that is, phrases that can’t be said, or, conversely, phrases that must be said. Once these words or phrases have been spoken ( river to the sea, existential threat, right to defend, one state, two states, Zionist, colonialist, imperialist, terrorist ) and one’s positionality established, then and only then will the ethics of the question be attended to (or absolutely ignored). The objection may be raised at this point that I am behaving like a novelist, expressing a philosophy without a politics, or making some rarefied point about language and rhetoric while people commit bloody murder. This would normally be my own view, but, in the case of Israel/Palestine, language and rhetoric are and always have been weapons of mass destruction.

It is in fact perhaps the most acute example in the world of the use of words to justify bloody murder, to flatten and erase unbelievably labyrinthine histories, and to deliver the atavistic pleasure of violent simplicity to the many people who seem to believe that merely by saying something they make it so. It is no doubt a great relief to say the word “Hamas” as if it purely and solely described a terrorist entity. A great relief to say “There is no such thing as the Palestinian people” as they stand in front of you. A great relief to say “Zionist colonialist state” and accept those three words as a full and unimpeachable definition of the state of Israel, not only under the disastrous leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu but at every stage of its long and complex history, and also to hear them as a perfectly sufficient description of every man, woman, and child who has ever lived in Israel or happened to find themselves born within it. It is perhaps because we know these simplifications to be impossible that we insist upon them so passionately. They are shibboleths; they describe a people, by defining them against other people—but the people being described are ourselves. The person who says “We must eliminate Hamas” says this not necessarily because she thinks this is a possible outcome on this earth but because this sentence is the shibboleth that marks her membership in the community that says that. The person who uses the word “Zionist” as if that word were an unchanged and unchangeable monolith, meaning exactly the same thing in 2024 and 1948 as it meant in 1890 or 1901 or 1920—that person does not so much bring definitive clarity to the entangled history of Jews and Palestinians as they successfully and soothingly draw a line to mark their own zone of interest and where it ends. And while we all talk, carefully curating our shibboleths, presenting them to others and waiting for them to reveal themselves as with us or against us—while we do all that, bloody murder.

And now here we are, almost at the end of this little stream of words. We’ve arrived at the point at which I must state clearly “where I stand on the issue,” that is, which particular political settlement should, in my own, personal view, occur on the other side of a ceasefire. This is the point wherein—by my stating of a position—you are at once liberated into the simple pleasure of placing me firmly on one side or the other, putting me over there with those who lisp or those who don’t, with the Ephraimites, or with the people of Gilead. Yes, this is the point at which I stake my rhetorical flag in that fantastical, linguistical, conceptual, unreal place—built with words—where rapes are minimized as needs be, and the definition of genocide quibbled over, where the killing of babies is denied, and the precision of drones glorified, where histories are reconsidered or rewritten or analogized or simply ignored, and “Jew” and “colonialist” are synonymous, and “Palestinian” and “terrorist” are synonymous, and language is your accomplice and alibi in all of it. Language euphemized, instrumentalized, and abused, put to work for your cause and only for your cause, so that it does exactly and only what you want it to do. Let me make it easy for you. Put me wherever you want: misguided socialist, toothless humanist, naïve novelist, useful idiot, apologist, denier, ally, contrarian, collaborator, traitor, inexcusable coward. It is my view that my personal views have no more weight than an ear of corn in this particular essay. The only thing that has any weight in this particular essay is the dead. ♦

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The Role of External Attribution in Shaping Perceptions and Relationships

This essay about external attribution discusses how attributing behaviors and events to external factors affects perceptions, relationships, and emotional well-being. It explains the concept within the framework of attribution theory, which distinguishes between internal and external causes for behaviors. The essay highlights that understanding external attribution can lead to more empathetic social interactions and improved resilience against depression. It also warns against overusing external attributions, which can result in a lack of personal accountability and hinder personal growth, especially in professional settings. By fostering awareness of how attributions are made, individuals can enhance interpersonal skills and create supportive environments that acknowledge external circumstances impacting behavior. This balance in attribution styles is emphasized as crucial for personal development and creating compassionate societies.

How it works

In everyday life, the way we interpret and respond to events around us greatly influences our interactions and self-esteem. One psychological concept that plays a crucial role in our interpretations is external attribution. This idea focuses on how individuals attribute the causes of behavior and events to factors outside themselves, as opposed to internal factors within their control. Understanding external attribution can help us navigate social dynamics more effectively, enhancing both personal and professional relationships.

External attribution is often explored in the context of attribution theory, which examines the processes by which people explain the causes of behavior and events.

According to this theory, attributions can be external or internal. When we make an external attribution, we are saying that the cause of an event or behavior was due to situational factors beyond the control of the individual involved. For instance, if a colleague misses a deadline, one might attribute this to external factors such as unexpected workload or technological failures, rather than to the colleague’s procrastination or lack of effort.

The implications of external attribution extend far beyond mere explanations, however. They can significantly impact how we perceive others and ourselves. By attributing actions to external factors, we may foster a more forgiving and understanding attitude. This can lead to stronger, more resilient relationships because it allows room for errors and empathizes with circumstances outside one’s control. In contrast, consistently attributing negative outcomes to internal factors can lead to blame and strained relationships.

Moreover, how we use external attributions affects our emotional well-being. Psychologists have found that people who habitually attribute negative events to external, temporary, and specific causes tend to be more resilient and less prone to depression. This optimistic attributional style helps individuals maintain higher self-esteem and cope more effectively with setbacks. Conversely, the tendency to blame oneself for adverse outcomes can exacerbate feelings of helplessness and depression.

However, the reliance on external attributions can also have its pitfalls. Overuse can lead to what is known as the “fundamental attribution error,” where individuals fail to recognize when internal factors are indeed responsible for someone’s actions. This can result in a lack of personal responsibility, where people blame external circumstances for their failures without acknowledging their own role in the outcome. In a professional setting, this might hinder personal growth and accountability, as individuals fail to learn from their mistakes.

In the realm of social interactions, understanding the balance in attribution styles is crucial. Educators, leaders, and managers can benefit from this knowledge by fostering environments where individuals feel their external circumstances are acknowledged and considered. Such environments encourage a supportive culture and reduce unnecessary stress and conflict. For instance, recognizing when a team member’s underperformance is due to external factors such as resource limitations can lead to more constructive solutions like reallocating resources or adjusting project timelines.

In conclusion, external attribution is a powerful lens through which we view our world. It shapes our relationships, influences our mental health, and affects our workplace dynamics. By becoming aware of how we attribute causes to behaviors and events, we can improve our interpersonal skills, enhance our resilience, and create more supportive environments. As we navigate through the complexities of life, striking the right balance in our attributional style can lead to more meaningful and productive interactions. This nuanced understanding is essential not just for personal happiness but also for fostering a compassionate and accountable society.


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