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What makes a great teacher?

  1. artlader profile image60
    artladerposted 5 years ago

    A Hubber asked me today what I thought the attributes of a great teacher are. Well, I know I am not qualified, but I will take a shot anyway. The following, then is simply my opinion. No more than that.

    I assume mastery of content, basic classroom management skills, good communication skills, etc. I assume you like young people. A lot.

    You know, the basics.

    And then what? For me, two important qualities:

    First, the ability to EMPATHIZE with students and to CONNECT with them. Students have to know that you know who they are and that you value them as human beings. No one likes being unappreciated. Certainly not teenagers. You have to find a way to connect. It's essential.

    Second, the ability to INSPIRE students. Some teachers don't like hearing it, but motivating students is a critical part of the job. You just have to find a way to do it. You just have to.

    Wait, there is actually another quality you need. It is about yourself, not your students: resilience. There will surely be some very long, difficult days in your teaching career. Students will push you away. Colleagues will be uncooperative. Administrators will be unsupportive. This is just how it is, sometimes. You cannot let this wear you down or rob you of your passion for your work. You may be a great educator, but you won't do anyone any good if you burn out a quit, will you?

    Anyway, those are my less-than-profound thoughts.

    I would love to know what you think about this.

    Regards,
    Art

    1. Kosmo profile image92
      Kosmoposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks for you impassioned words! I agree with you on what makes a great teacher. Unfortunately, our system isn't finding enough to those these days. Such folks are going elsewhere, because there are few jobs and the jobs that do exist don't pay enough. Later!

    2. jacques.gim profile image61
      jacques.gimposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      a teacher should have a positive attitude, be enthusiastic and have a good knowledge of his subject, I do believe the relationship between learners and teacher is a key element to success. It is important to be genuinely interested in the students to be able to meet their needs in order to become adaptable, this would help both parties to gain trust and respect for each over. A teacher should make his pupils feel important.

      1. artlader profile image60
        artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        > I do believe the relationship between learners
        > and teacher is a key element to success.

        I am convinced that you are 100% correct in this, Jacques.

        And you are right that respect plays a big part in this. I am sure of it.

        Thank you for posting.

        Art

      2. 6 String Veteran profile image86
        6 String Veteranposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        A great, insightful post. To which I neither can, nor will, add one thing.

    3. Shahid Bukhari profile image58
      Shahid Bukhariposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Reckon, Teaching, is all about Communicating ...

      My Professor of English Literature, during college [1957-59] at Karachi, Pakistan ... Prof. Hasan Askari, was an authority, on French Literature ... !!! ... ??? ...

      Askari's Critique, was published regularly, by France's leading literary Journals, and relied upon, by French doctoral students, and Critics alike ...

      I only came to know about all this ... many years after I had graduated from College, and had completed my Masters studies at the University. 

      Askari was, what Professors in the Classical Version were ... un-assuming, soft spoken, shabbily dressed gentlemen, wearing horn rimmed glasses ... he would walk into the class room, without any trumpets heralding his angelic arrival ... would deliver the lecture ... and as quietly, leave, when the period was over.

      I think, he was a terrible Communicator ... in an Ignorants infested Society... for he could have taught us better ... and we could have learned much more ... if ... he were less unassuming, and a good Communicator.

      Try find out, if the French remember him or his work.

      1. artlader profile image60
        artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        > he was a terrible Communicator ... in an Ignorants infested Society

        Ouch!

        It is telling, is it not, that this has stayed with you all these years, is it not, Shahid?

        Regards,
        Art

        1. Shahid Bukhari profile image58
          Shahid Bukhariposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Yes ...  Askari, is very much with me ... along with my other mentors ...
          which brings us to the point of curious ways, teachers can influence ...

          I am unassuming, I am shabbily dressed, I just say what I have to say ... but I do not wear horn rimmed glasses, and am no authority on French, though I can say Parley Vous.

          Its strange though ... my audiences call me a great Communicator ... and thats pretty flattering ... not,  that I get carried away ... anyway.

          1. artlader profile image60
            artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            > my audiences call me a great Communicator

            How wonderful! what a huge compliment.

            1. Shahid Bukhari profile image58
              Shahid Bukhariposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Today is the third aniversary of my writing on Hub Pages ... I am indeed very proud of the opportunity, the Pages have afforded me of sharing my ideas, with some very learned people ... like yourself. This, by the way, is not a Compliment, but a well considered Opinion.

              But alls not been rosy these three years ... I have "encountered" some obstinate ones, en route ... and received the outspoken's usual share of venom and abuses.

              I have also been Lecturing in Urdu, on International Cable TV ...  for over ten years now ... The huge compliment quoted ... are the exact words, of one of my Oxford educated viewers ... There are many other Compliments ... the best is ... my recorded lectures, being aired, and re-Aired ... on a regular basis, for over ten years. 

              And since, some may, for their own reasons, judge me wrongly and say ... I am not the unassuming person I say, I am  ... So I ask such judges ... 'Would you re-consider calling me, a rather uncaringly straight forward person ... stating the Facts, as they are... In that I, certainly, am not an hypocrite.'

              Anyway, I am currently planning to Record a new series in English ...  will inform you, whenever it is aired ... The Proposed Series is not with the intent of degrading or upgrading ... but to share, my views, with the English language Speaking people ...

              Regards

    4. Genna East profile image88
      Genna Eastposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      You answered this question beautifully.  Especially,  to inspire and motivate.  I only wish they would encourage performance assessments more.

      1. artlader profile image60
        artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        That's really interesting, Genna.

        I am in favor of this. -- http://www.tapsystem.org/

        What kind of performance assessments did you have in mind?

        Regards,
        Art

    5. Cathyrin profile image82
      Cathyrinposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I believe that the passion to communicate with students could make a good teacher. Imperfect learning will always reflect imperfect teaching. And imperfect teaching is not about proper communication with the students. smile

      Methodology of teaching is also a part. But nothing compares to a teacher who has a passion to make his/her students understand what he/she understands.  Teaching is all about passion for learning and teaching, eh.

      1. artlader profile image60
        artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        "But nothing compares to a teacher who has a passion to make his/her students understand what he/she understands."

        Amen. Passion really matters.

        - Art

    6. surfrider profile image60
      surfriderposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I always find the best professors do not simply explain the material well, they explain the motivation behind the material well.

      They answer questions such as "Why should one care?" and "What is it useful for?"

      Without these answers, students are stuck memorizing without really caring to learn.

      1. artlader profile image60
        artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Good point. This is important for high school teachers, too, is it not?

        Thank you for posting, Surfrider.

        Regards,
        Art

    7. olgakhumlo profile image80
      olgakhumloposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      It's great! Absolutely true .Its the perfect way to capture their attention and respect.I like your hub.

    8. Shahid Bukhari profile image58
      Shahid Bukhariposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Teaching, is all about Learning ... and Learning, Is, in the Ability, to Discern, between Right and Wrong, the Ability to Rise above Prejudice, and the Ability, to State, the Truth ... 

      Being a Teacher, is of Divine Favor ... In Being Granted the True Belief ... For we can only Teach, the learner, how to Distinguish, Truth from Fallacy ... Teaching is thus, more of a Responsibility, than the presently popular search, for laurels, or Position, in a Society.

      Secular Wisdom ... meaning, Sciences, Logics and Empiricism, Restrict, The Unlimited human Known, to within variously Devised Understandings of, A Created Reality ...

      The Secular approach, to Knowledge, Restricts Human Cognition, to within Conjecture ... away from The Existential's Reality ... to just Matter, and Materiality.

  2. rebekahELLE profile image90
    rebekahELLEposted 5 years ago

    you have said it very well! 

    I would add being well prepared and having the ability to change plans/methods in a moment. A great teacher has to be connected with the students, and the classroom as a learning environment, or it's wasted time.

    I love what you say about connecting with them as human beings. I think when that truth becomes real to a teacher, they are on their way to understanding what it means to teach.

    Understanding that even on your worst day, you are the best part of some of your students day.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      > even on your worst day,
      > you are the best part of
      > some of your students day

      You are 100% right about that.

      It's frightening to know that the reverse can be true, too, is it not?

      Regards,
      Art

  3. travelespresso profile image84
    travelespressoposted 5 years ago

    All of the above.  You have both summarized it extremely well.

    I also think you need to find a way to make your lessons FUN!

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Yes, I know that you are right about fun, travelespresso.

      Bored students are rarely happy, motivated, thriving students, are they?

      Thank you,
      Art

  4. habee profile image90
    habeeposted 5 years ago

    I wrote a hub about this exact topic! I agree with all the OP said, and I'll add something: making learning fun and exciting. Of course, that goes along with inspiration and motivation.

    1. Randy Godwin profile image93
      Randy Godwinposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Aw, you didn't learn me nuthin! smile

      1. habee profile image90
        habeeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Not my fault. I gave you books and you ate the covers. You know the old adage: "You can lead a Randy to knowledge, but you can't make him think." lol!!!!!

        1. Randy Godwin profile image93
          Randy Godwinposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          True, you taught me everything you know.  And I still don't know anything!  lol

          1. habee profile image90
            habeeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            RD, I'm writing about the guidestones near Elberton. I've seen them from the highway, but not up close. Have you ever visited them?

  5. Pearldiver profile image88
    Pearldiverposted 5 years ago

    What makes a great teacher?

    - The Ability to Listen

    - Understand

    - And View themself from the Student's Perspective.

    I Never Met a 'Teacher' who had any of those skills, let alone all of them.. So I learn nuthin at school either (except how girls work!) smile

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hi, Pearldiver,

      Do you mean that? You never had a teacher who could listen or understand or see things from the student's perspective?

      Or are you just messing with us? :-)

      Thanks,
      Art

  6. gypsumgirl profile image95
    gypsumgirlposted 5 years ago

    Art - I would say that a great teacher builds relationships and places that process on the top of the priority list.  Great teachers take the time to get to know each student and figure out what makes him/her unique and what makes him/her tick.  When solid relationships are made, the students are inspired to learn, which in turn, delights the teachers.  When teachers are happy, they are more motivated to become even greater by taking the time to refine their craft.

    Sure, great teachers are also passionate about their subjects, but without the relationship with students, the teachers' passions don't matter.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I completely agree, gypsumgirl.

      That's what I mean by finding a way to connect with your students.

      What they tell us in my district is, "They don't care what you know 'til they know that you care."

      Not too bad a motto, I'd say.

      Thank you for posting.

      Art

  7. AskAshlie3433 profile image60
    AskAshlie3433posted 5 years ago

    Their passion to teach our children and share their knowledge.

  8. 61
    Essyweposted 5 years ago

    I agree with artlader.

    1. VireshShinde profile image61
      VireshShindeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I think it's more about how you are friendly with students and how you can express your terms and condition in simpler way to understand the topic is very important in teaching. So that they learn it and share it with other friends that's how teachers can teach them and increase their capacity of studding rather then hammering down a single issue which students can not be understand if he doesn't love the subject.

      1. artlader profile image60
        artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Ooooh, good point.

        If you can't make the hard stuff seem easy, some students are going to have a very tough time.

        Thank you for that observation, VireshShinde.

        Regards,
        Art

  9. Evan G Rogers profile image83
    Evan G Rogersposted 5 years ago

    recent discussions of "good teaching" are that there are three pillars every good teacher uses.

    1) Content Knowledge: they have to know the content.

    2) Pedagogy: they need to know HOW to teach the information in a stimulating fashion

    3) Relationships: they need to build relationships with their students, their families, and their districts.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Well-said, Evan.

      - Art

  10. 0
    klarawieckposted 5 years ago

    Patience... patience.. patience... (taking a DEEEEEEP breath) ...Patience... yes, patience...

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Dear klarawieck,

      Where were you when I needed you today?!

      - Art

      1. 0
        klarawieckposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I was probably in bed, crashing after teaching the recorder to 32 fifth graders who don't understand the concept of BEING QUIET WHILE THE TEACHER IS GIVING INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PLAY THE DARNED INSTRUMENT!!!

        Yes, Patience is the key!

        1. artlader profile image60
          artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          LOL... You teach elementary school, klarawieck?

          Well, I truly admire and respect what you do.

          I am 100% sure that one of the reasons my daughter is such a fine, young adult, is because she had caring, competent elementary school teachers.

          Regards,
          Art

          1. 0
            klarawieckposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Thanks Art! No need to admire me. Send me your condolences instead. lol They drive me nuts! But I can't think of doing anything else. I'm used to the chaos, I guess. smile

            1. artlader profile image60
              artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              It's called Stockholm Syndrome, is it not, Klara? ;-)

              - Art

  11. Bizziebee profile image74
    Bizziebeeposted 5 years ago

    A patience teacher who gets students excited about the learning material

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That's the teacher I try to be, Bizziebee. I do try...

      - Art

  12. Mike's Corner profile image87
    Mike's Cornerposted 5 years ago

    All of the above, and I would add Passion for the subject . . . for the student to believe what the teacher is selling, the teacher must believe in what he or she is selling.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      You know Mike, at the University of South Carolina, there used to be a course named, "Teaching as a Performing Art." I think that sometimes you have to be a bit of an actor to sell your subject.

      Is that not true?

      That was many years ago and the class probably no longer exists. But it's tough to sell something you don't believe isn't it? That's an act most people could not pull off. I know I couldn't.

      Not a problem, though. I do not believe that learning German can help you lead a more interesting, richer life. I KNOW it.

      Thank you for posting.

      Regards,
      Art

  13. Purple Perl profile image79
    Purple Perlposted 5 years ago

    Art, I agree with all that you say is required of a good teacher. I would like to add that a teacher should be a good role model as well. If a student catches you telling lies when you have just finished a moral science class, you will lose out. Teachers are respected in India.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Amen, Purple Perl. I know that you are right about the need for teachers to practice what they preach. If you do not, you lose credibility, of course.

      You know, I do not believe that teachers are universally held in low regard in the USA. It is fashionable in some quarters to trash teachers. That's for sure.

      But I think most Americans who scapegoat teachers are simply misinformed about the reality in the schools. They read a few test scores and think they understand the schools. And they draw what seem, to them, to be obvious conclusions.

      If life were only so simple.

      I'm not saying that nothing needs to be changed. Not at all. I am saying that it is obvious that the sun revolves around the earth. I see it every day.

      But it doesn't, does it?

      Thank you for posting.

      Regards,
      Art

  14. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 5 years ago

    I also go along with that which you've outline but I want to go further then that.

    Some of the classes I took in high school focused on passed events like citzenship and though we were required to go through this out dated material it wasn't relevent in the current date/time.  Our instructor gave us about 20 minutes of out of the book teaching then he had us close the book and he told us how to prepare for the real world-That Helped Me Personally More Then Following The School's courses.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Hi, Span Star,

      Yes, I agree that the most important "content" is often not in any textbook.

      And the "test" is actually the life we end up living, is it not?

      It sounds like your teacher cared about you enough to try to help you pass the real test, no?

      Thank you for posting.

      Regards,
      Art

  15. drbj profile image83
    drbjposted 5 years ago

    Great teachers possess knowledge, patience, persistence, enthusiasm, energy and a fabulous sense of humor. I have spoken.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      > I have spoken.

      Funny!

      And you have spoken well, drbj.

      Regards,
      Art

  16. Mikel G Roberts profile image88
    Mikel G Robertsposted 5 years ago

    A good teacher is someone who inspires intelligence. By that I mean they teach their students to think, and how to learn. In my humble opinion modern learning institutions concentrate too heavily on fact and figure memorization, which results in mass conformity, the opposite of inspiring intelligence.

    The "how" a good teacher inspires intelligence is as different as the students they inspire, and what makes a good teacher a great Teacher.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Dear Mikel,

      I appreciate that you use the word "inspire" several times in your post.

      I do not know how one can hope to be an effective teacher without motivating (inspiring) one's students.

      It's tough to do sometimes, but it's quite important, is it not?.

      Regards,
      Art

  17. Pcunix profile image90
    Pcunixposted 5 years ago

    I had far too many poor teachers and only two that were good. Those two were dedicated and caring. I wish I could say those two made up for the rest, but that would not be true.

    Those two happened to be back to back, making the disillusionment that followed all the more difficult. Ineffectual, ignorant, tyrannical, jaded, disinterested, sadly insane.. Just a sampling as various faces flash through my memory. Oh well - I survived them. Barely.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      ...making the disillusionment that followed all the more difficult. Ineffectual, ignorant, tyrannical, jaded, disinterested, sadly insane.. ..."

      How awful!

      I hope my former students are not saying any of that that about me. :-(

      Regards,
      Art

      1. Pcunix profile image90
        Pcunixposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        If you seriously are not aware that many of your peers are bad teachers, then you are either in a very unusual place or you simply aren't paying attention.  I hope it is the former.

  18. TheOneWhoKnows profile image59
    TheOneWhoKnowsposted 5 years ago

    Patience

  19. CARIBQUEEN profile image76
    CARIBQUEENposted 5 years ago

    Those who are patient and understanding and would go the extra for C-grade students. The teacher can see potential in the below average student and offer as much encouragement as possible. Those students in the end perform quite well academically as they receive personal attention.

    1. gypsumgirl profile image95
      gypsumgirlposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      True enough, and I agree with everything you say.  I would argue, however, that a great teacher would do this for all students, not just the ones earning C's in their classes.

  20. 61
    ShortStoryposted 5 years ago

    One of the things that makes a great teacher is knowing when NOT to help.

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      That is a wonderful observation, Short Story!

      I think that one of the hallmarks of good teaching is knowing how much scaffolding to give a student. Too much support can be just as negative as too little, can it not?

      In my German classes, I am constantly asking myself how much assistance to give a student and what kind of assistance the student really needs.

      After over thirty years in the classroom, I still cannot do it intuitively. I have to closely observe my students and ask just the right questions to determine what they actually already know and what they can really already do. I would say it's like a game, but it's too important for that label, I think.

      Thank you for posting.

      Regards,
      Art

  21. ocbill profile image76
    ocbillposted 5 years ago

    patience and the enjoyment you see on your student's faces as they learn something new. I found this out in a few college courses why the class was always full. I will still never forget those classes even today; medical sociology and 20th century history

  22. ChristineVianello profile image61
    ChristineVianelloposted 5 years ago

    My fiance volunteers is time after his full time career in teaching children how to play hockey. I believe being a good teacher one needs to want to inspire and be dedicated to teaching others.

  23. Starving Teacher profile image60
    Starving Teacherposted 5 years ago

    Art,

    You're right on the money!  Teachers need enthusiasm, relationship-building skills, patience, endurance, and other character traits in order to build rapport and gain trust.  Once students are comfortable about who they are, how they learn, and what their strengths and weaknesses are, they're ready to take in information and grow to meet their goals.  This is where I feel teachers need to be masters in their field, varying the way they deliver information in order to meet the many learning modalities within a class.  Teachers also need to vary how they facilitate that learning in order to meet different ability levels.  Overall, it takes full consciousness / awareness each day!!  No slacking if you want to be good at your job! 

    The Starving Teacher

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Dear Starving Teacher,

      Well, I think I would want my child in your class!

      Is there a bigger compliment one teacher can give another?

      Regards,
      Art

  24. manlypoetryman profile image73
    manlypoetrymanposted 5 years ago

    What makes a great teacher? Having eyes in the back of their head surely helps...like mine use to!

  25. Docmo profile image93
    Docmoposted 5 years ago

    A lot of wonderful stuff has been said already. I wrote recently on ' The Seven habits of an Educational supervisor' for training the trainers/ teachers in delivering medical education( a riff on Stephen covey's Book- Seven habits of highly effective people')

    a) Be knowledgeable
    b) Be non-judgmental
    c) Be enthusiastic
    d) Be patient
    e) Be supportive and challenging
    f) Be creative and entertaining
    g) BE inspirational

    Were among those traits that stood out! Maybe I should do a hub about it....

    1. artlader profile image60
      artladerposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      > Maybe I should do a hub about it....

      I hope that you do, Docmo! I would like to read that Hub.

      Regards,
      Art

  26. Cici2hip4u profile image60
    Cici2hip4uposted 5 years ago

    To be a fun teacher but still be a serious, focusing teacher, you need to be able to interact with all of the students. It depends, what grade level are you heading out to teach, and what subject?

    1. deutschpraxis profile image60
      deutschpraxisposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Well, i think, the level is not so important, you can have fun with your students at any level, that is at least my experience.

  27. trimar7 profile image61
    trimar7posted 5 years ago

    read my hub - teachers are targets

  28. gauri1234 profile image59
    gauri1234posted 5 years ago

    A teacher who inspires his students

 
working