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You are the best version of yourself – being a true authentic teacher

Teachers - 06 Nov 2020

Being an authentic version of yourself is the most powerful characteristic that you possess – especially as a teacher. Authenticity in teaching involves traits such as being genuine, self-aware and of course, being defined by being yourself rather than expectations from others. Many of us do not do well with criticism, but if you are just yourself, you are more prone to be able to critically reflect on yourself and come out the other end with an objective opinion and constructive solutions on how to work on things in a way that makes you feel better about yourself.
This brings us to the question – how do you achieve a more authentic teaching style? There are a few steps to achieve this, but it all starts with just being the best version of yourself as a teacher. It is of the utmost importance to take time before and after class to chat to your learners and allow them the opportunity to share in experiences and just get to know them on a personal level as well. Teachers often make the biggest impact on their learners and pave the way for their future by caring for them as individuals. Authentic teachers who are willing to share details of their lives with learners are seen as more approachable, passionate about what they do and are invested.
Based on a subsequent analysis by Kreber, six dimensions of authenticity in teachers were identified and elaborated on:

  • Being sincere, candid, or honest – when learners look at their teacher, they want to see a reflection of the true person and what they stand for. It is  important that a teacher speaks with integrity and authority.
  • Be your true self – teachers need to be self-aware and committed to what they do. Teaching is not just another job! Working in education is a choice that needs to be made because you want to make a real difference in the leaders of the future and the quality of education. Consistency between values and education is key!
  • Be true to yourself – this simply means that you are not defined by what is expected of you by parents or other teachers, but by keeping to your own high standards and executing them every single day .
  • Acting in the interests of your learners – the main focus teachers always need to keep top of mind is to always act in the best interest of their learners and to want each and every individual to flourish.
  • Always care for your subject – when we think authenticity it is not just about being real, but also believing in your subject that you are teaching. It is about conveying the correct information and belief behind the subject in meaningful ways. Genuine interest in questions your learners ask is a must!
  • A process of becoming – like all things in life, even authenticity is a process of evolution and critical reflection. Teaching that is authentic continually revisits the purposes of education, and regularly inquires as to the origins behind and rationales that justify how certain norms and practices have come to be accepted.

Don’t try and be someone other than yourself – the best version you can give to others is the version that you are comfortable with and that shows your true personality and values. Why try and fit in when you were meant to stand out?

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