How To Know If Your Child Has A Good Teacher What Parents need to know about bad teachers
Back to School
It's that time of the year again, school is starting. Soon you are going to hand your precious child over to someone with whom they are going to spend the majority of their time with for the next 9 months. You are trusting this person not only to educate your offspring but to care for them, respect them, and teach them how to become a better person. Many parents assume their child's new teacher will do just that, but honestly how do you know? There are good and not so good teachers In every school across America and it's your responsibility as a parent to be able to tell the difference.
I wrote this hub to help parents answer these questions: How can you tell the difference between a "good" and a "bad" teacher? What do effective teachers do that ineffective teachers don't? What can you do to ensure your child is in the best learning environment possible?
Hopefully by the time you finish reading this hub you will know what to look for on either "Meet the Teacher Night" or on the first day of school. Your child deserves the best education possible in the best environment possible managed the best teacher possible-find the good teachers in your child's school and help your baby have a successful and fulfilling year.
What Do Good Teachers Do?
What do you look for in a good teacher's classroom? What should you expect to see and hear? Here are a few things that a good teacher does beginning with the first time you meet her.
A good teacher makes both her learning and behavior expectations know to her students and her student's parent at the beginning of the year. If a parent ask her about her homework policy she can clearly explain it and more than likely has a handout available. She uses weekly newsletters, handouts, and a class website to keep parents informed of the different learning activities that are taking place in the classroom as well as what the students are expected to learn and how they are going to be assessed on the learning. She keeps parents updated on their child's progress and provides them with information and materials so they can help their child at home.
A good teacher wants to get to know both the child that is in her classroom and the child's parents. She realizes that parents are the most valuable resources available when it comes to getting to know who the students is, what interests him, what his strengths and weaknesses are and how to best reach him.
When it comes to discipline a good teacher lets parents know exactly what behavior is expected of their child in the classroom and throughout the school. She also lets her students know of her expectations and the consequences, both good and bad, for their behavior in the classroom, lunchroom, library, playground, hallway and througout the school. Everything is spelled out at the beginning of the year so there are no surprises or spur of the moment decisions made concerning discipline issues.
A good teacher is fair, unbiased, and doesn't play favorites. The rules apply to everyone equally and consequences for good and bad behavior are uniform and just. She understands that above all children value justice and want to know they will be treated fairly so she provides them with the rules and guidelines they seek. She uses positive discipline procedures and creates a classroom environment that promotes success for everyone.
A good teacher seeks to keep the line of communication between the school and her student's home open. She is easily accessible and will returns phone calls in a timely manner. She doesn't call parents just when there is a problem in class, she calls them to let them know of their child's success as well. She seeks to form positive partnerships with all of her student's parents and guardians by listening to their concerns and seeking their advice.
What do effective teachers do?
Not all teachers are created equally, and not all teachers teach effectively. What do good teachers do that average teachers don't?
A good teacher sets positive expectations for her students and encourages them to succeed at everything they do. She recognizes and celebrates all of their accomplishments be them small or large. She knows that the better a child feels about themself the more apt they are to take chances in the classroom so she strives to help instill confidence in each one.
A good teacher realizes that not all of her students learn the same way or are operating on the same level so she adjusts her instruction accordingly. She differentiates her instruction based upon individual student needs and allows students the freedom to explore learning in different ways. She creates multiple paths to the same objectives. If a student requires manipulates or supplemental materials they are available and easily accessible. She works with students in various ways depending upon learning objectives. When you are in her classroom you may see her instructing the whole class at one time, or working with small groups of children. She is flexible in her approach to teaching and if something doesn't work-she tries something else until each and every student under her care has a firm grasp of what they need to learn.
What can you do to ensure your child is in the best possible learning environment?
How do you find out if your child is in the classroom of a good teacher?
The best way to find out if your child is in the classroom of a good teacher is by keeping the lines of communication between yourself and the school open. Offer to volunteer in your child's school and specifically in his classroom. If you can't volunteer then simply visit or even have lunch with your child on a regular basis.
You can also ask your child how he fells about his teacher. Children of all ages can tell the difference between someone who loves what they are doing and someone who is simply working for a paycheck. They know when someone cares about them and is genuinely interested in their success. They also know when their teacher is treating them fairly or if she is playing favorites in the classroom.
Everyone in the school community from the principals, teaching staff, cafeteria workers, custodians, and parents know the teachers in the school that not only do their job, but do their job well and inspire their students while doing it. If you are new to a school then ask others who have been at the school about the teachers. Trust me you will get an earful if you just ask. Talk to parents of the teacher's former students if you need more information. And if you don't like what you hear by all means pull your child out of that classroom as soon as possible. Don't wait for things to improve because they don't always get better. A simple visit to the school's office and talk with the principal will get your child moved and save you a from having headaches later.
The responsibility to educate your child doesn't belong solely to his teacher. As his parent it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your child receives a quality education and there is no better way to do that than to see that your child is being taught by highly qualified, highly effective, highly motivated, genuinely concerned, loving, teacher.