A teacher is a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage

Updated: Oct 21, 2021


You’ve been asked to teach a group of students how to use words with precision and imagination — enabling them to become critical readers, thinkers, and writers; and empowering them to succeed in their futures.


As daunting as this task may seem, remember that a teacher is a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage. Apply these three tips that can help you succeed with your students as you guide them.


1. Students need to learn how to think independently and critically


In school, students learn to depend on the answers given to them by their teachers. But in the world outside of school, they’ll find that their answers are not always given to them. They’ll have to figure things out on their own. That’s where critical thinking comes in. It’s the ability to come to solutions on your own by integrating and synthesizing knowledge.


2. Students need to learn how to speak with purpose


A lot of students don’t know how to speak with purpose, which makes it hard to be taken seriously. If you know what you’re going to say, you know how you’re going to say it, and you know why you’re saying it, you’ll be able to communicate with confidence. This means that you want to help them discover their own voice — and this means exploring different points of view.


3. Students need a positive attitude toward writing


Writing is difficult for most people, but it’s important to develop a positive attitude towards it. A positive attitude towards writing allows you to look forward to writing rather than be afraid of it. If you write on a regular basis, then you’ll build up your writing muscles and become better at it. To help foster this, give students the tools necessary to follow the instruction that you give. Whether it’s the textbook of the subject, your notes section, or some other resource that you can point out, make sure students have the right tools before they start.