What makes a good teacher? Sounds relatively simple doesn’t it? However, despite millions of pounds of investments, studies and training, the answer to this question still remains somewhat elusive.
Good Teachers Are Adaptable
Teaching practices change all the time, there are constantly new means of technology, changes to the curriculum, new subjects and an ever-changing emphasis on the importance of academic success, therefore, a good teacher should be adaptable and open to change and development. A teacher, now-a-days, needs to be able to accommodate new learning methods, to encourage the use of things like new media in order to get their students actively participating in the learning process. This will lead to a more engaged student and more successful teacher.
On top of this, there are some more obvious points to consider; a good teacher will quite simply be good with kids. Teaching requires a certain degree of empathy with the student, if a teacher doesn’t understand the people he or she is teaching, then very often – particularly with more difficult students – they are unlikely to get their message across. Similarly, a good teacher will always recognise a student’s potential.
Good Teachers Are Empathetic
For this reason it is of the utmost importance that a teacher has a sense of purpose in their work. A good teacher will be enthusiastic about what they’re teaching and have an ultimate goal in mind. Teaching isn’t simply a ‘job’, it comes with much responsibility, and a good teacher will always endeavour to do right by their students, to encourage, to build self-esteem, and ultimately to act as a role model. It is ridiculous to expect a student to be interested in something that the person who is teaching them shows no enthusiasm for. A passionate and involved approach will rub off on the student, resulting in a student who is eager to learn and open to advice and criticism from someone they have respect for.
Good Teachers Are Constantly Learning
As well as this teachers should always be willing to consider themselves students. There are always, in all subjects, bound to be questions that a teacher simply doesn’t have the answers to. This should never be seen as a weakness but rather a learning curve. These unanswered questions can be used to spark debate and engagement amongst the pupils and help the teacher to gain a further understanding into the ways in which the subject is viewed by the kids they are teaching. It might even give the students a sense of achievement and satisfaction to have forced their teacher to think about something and spur them on towards success.
There are no set ‘rules’ to being a good teacher, however what I have outlined above is a good start. Good teaching is not necessarily about a set technique but rather a positive attitude and will to succeed and engage with subjects and students alike. A good teacher will command respect without demanding it, they will not condescend but rather see the potential of all their students; regardless of their abilities and expect success from every one of them.
Article by Matt Smith – education and boarding school blogger.
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