What makes a good teacher
This post is for my young teacher friends who are just starting out in this wonderful profession. I taught at the secondary level, the university level, worked at the Board and Provincial (State) level. The schools I worked in were mostly inner city, and had problems with gangs and race. I still have good relationships with many of my ex students. So over the years I have learned what makes a good teacher extraordinary. The International Center for Leadership in Education completed a study of what makes a teacher extraordinary. The study was built on three earlier studies that explored.
- the reasons some schools had high-achieving students in spite of high poverty and other markers that seem to preclude success
- the ways these schools were able to close the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students
- the observations of students in these studies who were interviewed about their learning and their teachers’ teaching.
From these explorations, the new study identifies 10 characteristics of extraordinary teachers:
1. Student-Teacher Relationships. The teacher creates an atmosphere of mutual respect in which students and teachers are involved together in the learning process.
2. Commitment to Student Success. The teacher believes and acknowledges that all students will succeed and works to accomplish this success.
3. Passion, Enthusiasm, and Competence. The teacher demonstrates an infectious interest and passion in the subject matter and relays that attitude to students, staff, and other adults.
4. Awareness of Time. The teacher provides bell-to-bell instruction in the classroom and plans time to ensure that the curriculum is covered within the semester or school year.
5. Exceptional Organization. The teacher has systems (often self-designed) for maximizing instructional time.
6. Seamless Use of Tools and Opportunities. The teacher has at hand a full complement of instructional strategies and is able to take advantage of classroom opportunities to extend discussion and understanding.
7. High Verbal Skills, Clear Voice. The teacher has a widely developed vocabulary, a clear voice, and the ability to explain concepts well.
8. Sense of Theatre. The teacher holds the students’ attention through a style that includes a sense of theater, an awareness of audience, and an atmosphere of liveliness.
9. Experience. The teacher demonstrates maturity gained though several years of teaching.
10. Pleasantly Neurotic. The teacher is likely on occasion to bend rules or change procedures in order to benefit students, but is, at the same time, a team player and not a rabble-rouser.