One of the Herculean but mouth-watering duties of an instructor is assuming the role of a counselor. Despite the fact that an instructor’s primary goal is to impart academic knowledge in the field of content delivery, s/he has a secondary and an all-important task of shaping the moral behavior of students. Thus, an instructor’s role is holistic centering on the total development of the learner. This explains why instructors are normally painted with the phrase ‘shapers of future leaders’. Metaphorically, students are like a herd of cattle while teachers are herdsmen. As fragile, senseless, and immature like cows, students need occasional and sometimes frequent coaching from the most skillful and experienced tutors. If their paths are not directed, they can end up in deep pits that can even thwart their academic goals.
True, instructors are saddled with a lot of responsibilities in various educational institutions making time very scarce for them. However, they must urgently take up the roles of counselors so as not to defeat their ultimate aim of shaping students for the many difficult challenges in the future. This is so because some students have lost their parents to the cold hands of death. Also, those who have may not be fortunate to be blessed with morally focused parents to coach them properly. Some parents, due to the stress of work and the insatiable craving for wealth, spend all their time at work and hardly avail themselves to their wards to listen to their problems to offer them directions. The instructor has to sit in the seat of a parent to monitor and regulate the moral training of students.
Students confide in their instructors and majority of them see ‘parents’ in them. That is why when they are heavy with the toils of life, they run to these teachers. Thus, no matter how busy the schedules of teachers may be, they must spend quality time to offer practical directions to ease the constant life challenges of students. Also, introvert students must be carefully studied and drawn close to by instructors so that they can come to their rescue since it is very difficult for such ones to approach tutors with their problems.
Some instructors who are driven by money argue that they are not remunerated for this extra difficult duty and as such, they would not wear the shoes of coaches. Sound their protest may be, such teachers must recall that unlike other professions, teaching is a self-sacrificial job that attracts long-term recognizance and blessings that are sometimes far-fetched. Yet, patient tutors who guard their students receive such favors and more.
The ships of these fragile students may be wreaked by stormy situations such as bad company, discord relations, learning challenges, peer pressure to engage in vile and morally degrading pursuits, and much more. They must be counseled to bring them on track. If teachers go the extra mile to take up this wonderful role of counselors, they would marvel how their few words, a smile of assurance, shoulder tap of motivation, kind and caring ears can positively affect these fragile students! It can mean a total life overhauling and a life changer or saver for most of these young ones.
Lecturers at the university and other tertiary institutions are not excused from this duty. Some shun this role with the wrong notion that students at this stage of their lives are matured and as such can handle their own problems. Is this assertion true? Certainly not! As mature as instructors may be, they occasionally need the advice to handle some pressing situations in life, even with their highly weighed experiences in life. If grownups and the more experienced need coaching, how much more these students who have reached the pinnacle of their academic career. If instructors play their roles as counselors tactfully, they would be able to honor their calling as ‘shapers of future leaders’.