As we head off for a well-deserved holiday break, the article summary below is from What Makes a Good Teacher? (no hyperlink available).
We can all compile a unique list of important teacher characteristics, yet the ones below (including a fundamental aim of education) resonated for me as especially important.
One of my personality habits/traits/quirks is continuous introspection (I would never be alone on a desert island), and the list below helps focus my reflection on the type of teacher I am and where I can better.
Amidst the hectic chaos of the holidays, try to find some time for yourself to reflect on the following:
- How is your year going?
- How are your students progressing—collectively and individually?
- How are you finding that balance between knowledge acquisition and student empowerment?
- How are balancing the 'magic blend' of challenge and nurture in your classroom?
- How well are you are working with your colleagues?
- How well are you are communicating with your students’ parents?
- To what extent are you demonstrating the teacher qualities below?
I could add many other questions—but the real key is taking some time to reflect on what you're doing and, if needed, make some mid-year adjustments.
I’m not a New Year’s Resolution type of person (I’m more in into making long-term habitual changes in my life and profession), yet any change emanates from within.
Thank all of you for your work and effort at Trinity thus far this year—and have a wonderful and fulfilling holiday season!
There are two ways that ineffective teachers can harm students: putting them off a subject and undermining their confidence and self-belief.
Good teachers do exactly the opposite of these things, and, as a result inspire, guide, and give their students a broader sense of life’s possibilities--the desire to know more, understand more, achieve greater insight.
Here are several qualities that the best teachers possess:
Enthusiasm – students often catch this in their classrooms
Charisma – teachers can be pied pipers for their subject
A capacity to clarify and make sense – this quality illuminates any subject
Humor – it lightens the hard work students need to do
Kindness – a teacher’s power is enhanced when there’s a human connection
A genuine interest in students’ progress – this involves constantly checking for understanding and responding accordingly
Good teachers have these qualities in varying proportions, and the net effect is that students begin to teach themselves.
And that, paradoxical as it may seem, is the best outcome of good teaching-- independence of endeavor and soon therefore of mind should be one of the fundamental aims of education.
Some novice teachers worry that if they show humor, kindness, and interest, they’ll come across as weak. But there’s no inconsistency in being both kind and firm, humorous although not prepared to tolerate messing about, and interested without being partial. It is a matter of operational tact and good timing.
Good teachers are those who remember being a student. They hear themselves as their students hear them. They know which aspects of their subject might present a difficulty, which require to be grasped before which, and what their best students will be keen to know, and why. Students’ questions and doubts compel one to think and rethink, often prompting one to see things that had not been noticed before. For this reason it is never boring to teach the same subject repeatedly.