Skip to main content
Preslav Rachev
  1. My Writings /2 Cents /

No One Needs Teachers Anymore

·4 mins
Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

Source: Austrian National Library @ Unsplash

Many of my readers are probably young enough to have not heard of Pink Floyd’s cult song, Another Brick in The Wall. And while the song’s context is a little different, the question I want to provoke the reader with is the same: Do we need teachers in 2024?

My answer is a resounding “no.”

By and large, school teachers are in short supply, and the rest are consistently being underpaid. You’d think that the fundamental laws of economics should have fixed that inefficiency long ago. I think that economics is trying to tell us something instead: teachers are simply not relevant anymore. What kids need instead, are mentors and coaches who foster critical thinking.

Historically, education has been about passing knowledge from one person to another. Teachers used to be repositories of knowledge - they would deliver information to students who were expected to absorb it. This model worked well while information was scarce and difficult to access. Today, however, information is abundant and readily available at our fingertips. Having someone who would plainly recite their material and question students on facts rather than test their critical thinking is shaping up an entire generation of passive consumers who won’t be able to find their place in a world increasingly becoming automated. Yeah, it’s fantastic to have deep knowledge of facts, formulas, and dates, but without the ability to connect the dots when needed, those facts remain just raw records in a database.

From teachers, to coaches and mentors who foster critical thinking #

Future generations won’t need knowledge of facts as much as the ability to ask the right questions and the chance to develop unique strengths. These have always been crucial for making a dent, but the more we rely on automation to do our daily chores, the more focusing on what makes us truly human will become inevitable. This is where the traditional role of a teacher must transform into that of a coach or mentor.

Unlike a traditional teacher, a coach focuses on helping individuals unlock their potential, develop skills, and achieve personal and professional goals. This more personalized approach recognizes that each student has unique strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Coaches provide support and feedback. They won’t tell students how to learn but will empower them to take ownership of their learning journey. In short, a coach won’t give you the answers; they will just help you ask the questions that matter to you, and the answers will come naturally.

But being a good coach is only a part of the game. A good educator must also be a great mentor and a role model. If you are planning to prepare the future generation for the life of tomorrow but can’t relate it to your personal story, forget it. Life is full of opportunities, but being an educator isn’t the one for you.

What you have just read could have been written in mid-19th Century, or during the 1950s and would have been just as true. What makes me think that now is the time to end old-school teaching? One word - disinformation. We are past the point where the human mind can discern truth from false information without exercising critical thinking.

50 years ago, it was still possible to dismiss something as “not my problem” and still live a life unburdened by the problems of others. Today, it’s no longer possible to remain uninvolved. Technology has brought down all barriers and permeated every aspect of life. It has made inaction detrimental—you can still choose to take that side, but just like the frog in the pan, you’ll slowly fry (quite literally) in your own comfort.

The famous red pill / blue pill scene from the movie The Matrix

But how do you make the right choice if facts are no longer universally true, and every false statement may have a bit of truth in it?

This is where teaching critical thinking becomes fundamental. Yet, last time I checked, it was still the exception rather than the norm in most education systems.

References #

How Finland starts its fight against fake news in primary schools
Country on frontline of information war teaches everyone from school pupils to politicians how to spot slippery information

Have something to say? Join the discussion below 👇

Want to explore instead? Fly with the time capsule 🛸

You may also find these interesting