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.
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!
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.
> 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.
A great, insightful post. To which I neither can, nor will, add one thing.
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.
> he was a terrible Communicator ... in an Ignorants infested Society
It is telling, is it not, that this has stayed with you all these years, is it not, Shahid?
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.
> my audiences call me a great Communicator
How wonderful! what a huge compliment.
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 ...
You answered this question beautifully. Especially, to inspire and motivate. I only wish they would encourage performance assessments more.
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.
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.
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.
It's great! Absolutely true .Its the perfect way to capture their attention and respect.I like your hub.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!!!!
True, you taught me everything you know. And I still don't know anything!
What makes a great teacher?
- The Ability to Listen
- 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!)
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.
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.
Their passion to teach our children and share their knowledge.
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.
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.
Patience... patience.. patience... (taking a DEEEEEEP breath) ...Patience... yes, patience...
Where were you when I needed you today?!
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!
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.
Thanks Art! No need to admire me. Send me your condolences instead. They drive me nuts! But I can't think of doing anything else. I'm used to the chaos, I guess.
A patience teacher who gets students excited about the learning material
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Great teachers possess knowledge, patience, persistence, enthusiasm, energy and a fabulous sense of humor. I have spoken.
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.
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?.
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.
...making the disillusionment that followed all the more difficult. Ineffectual, ignorant, tyrannical, jaded, disinterested, sadly insane.. ..."
I hope my former students are not saying any of that that about me. :-(
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.
One of the things that makes a great teacher is knowing when NOT to help.
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.
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
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.
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
What makes a great teacher? Having eyes in the back of their head surely helps...like mine use to!
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....
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?
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