9 Great Teacher Qualities As Told By Students
Great teacher qualities often depend on the age, the stature, and the profession of the person you’re asking. One thing on which most people agree, however, is this: the education system would be nothing without quality teachers and any deficit as far as that is concerned means that students will fall behind in a hurry. While pondering the question of what it means to be a quality teacher, we figured the best people to guide us would be current and past students. According to them, great teacher qualities can be summarized like this:
1. They Encourage Interests.
Great teachers notice when students take a shine to material, and they are open to encouraging that interest as it develops.
Eighteen-year-old Brazilian student Robledo Cabral explains: “There were times in the past when I’ve felt incredibly enticed by a subject, wanting to know more about it, only to be dismissed by a teacher with a patronising tone. On the other hand, I’ll always be grateful to all the teachers who have ever believed in my potential, regardless of my young age, and who have fostered in me the urge to seek more and more information about my areas of interest.”
2. They Give Good Feedback.
High school student Varsha Iyer believes that “how they provide feedback” is an important part of determining great teacher qualities. “The best teachers provide prompt, accurate and mostly encouraging feedback,” Iyer explains. “They don’t attack your mistakes. They guide you to correct them. They don’t tear you down, they motivate you to continuously improve yourself.”
3. They Have Inspirational Qualities.
For former Tulane University student Marcus Booth, there is a difference between a good teacher and a great one. A good one is competent at getting across material so that the student has the knowledge needed for the next step up in the learning process. A great one “does much more than just an excellent job on the giving end of knowledge transmission.”
“A great teacher inspires curiosity and involvement in the study of what they are teaching,” Booth said. “The best of educators open the minds of their students and influence their ways of thinking and inspire them to ask, ‘What’s next?’ They’re the ones who gave me reason to go to class instead of just read the textbook.”
4. They Teach People How To Teach Themselves.
Booth also believes that it’s not the job of a teacher to simply ensure their students are prepared with information and facts. Rather, great teacher qualities include showing students how to use their newly acquired knowledge to think for themselves.
“The best teachers inspire a student to continue the pursuit of knowledge,” Booth explained. “They teach him or her how to teach themselves and why [they should want] to … continue to learn. They encourage divergent thinking and creative approaches, the levels of understanding that are only reached when pursued with much more than the desire not to let this particular course sully one’s academic transcript.”
5. They Show You How To Apply Your Training To The World.
Most students responding to question of what great teacher qualities are, agreed that the best educators know how to take a subject and show its application to the outside world. In other words, how will English help me in life — the great teacher will know how to answer that, not because they read the answer in a book but because they’ve lived it and seen it and they know how to communicate it.
6. They’re Excited About The Material.
If an English teacher can’t get excited about literature — if a math teacher is bored with trigonometry — if a science teacher doesn’t like to blow things up — then most students also felt they probably needed to be in another line of work. (Or teaching a different subject.)
Most agreed that a teacher should be “excited about what they teach” and not just “going through the motions.”
7. They Understand How Students Learn.
Former student and IT professional Jeff Darcy pointed out that not only should a teacher possess most (if not all) of the above mentioned qualities, they should also “understand how students learn.”
“That’s essential when devising a curriculum, to teach concepts in an order and manner that involves the fewest pitfalls and ‘huh?’ moments,” Darcy explained. “It’s also essential during hands-on teaching, to identify why a particular student is having trouble learning a particular concept, and to guide them through the process in a way that works for them.”
8. They Care.
Former student and current vice-president of The Advisory Council (TAC) Michael Greene pointed out that great teacher qualities are present when they “genuinely care about the student as a person and are able to connect in some way to each student.”
This is something many politicians have lost sight of — that great teaching connects to the individual. It’s not about bringing bad students to mediocre and allowing great students to do their own thing without supervision. That’s the system that was created under President Bush by No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and President Obama has continued that same counterproductive culture during his five-year tenure in the Oval Office.
It makes it incredibly difficult for teachers to care when their very existence depends on test scores and bringing all students to an unrealistic standard.
(Soapbox, I will now step down.)
9. They Learn From Students.
Finally, former student Jen Egan Cranston states that great teachers have “the ability to effectively reflect on student behavior and learning, interpret that data correctly, and create a new experience and interaction that will create the greatest amount of learning possible, for the greatest number of students possible, repeatedly.” Assessment! Teachers must be as stringent on themselves as they are on their learning standards, in other words. Wholly agree!
Which great teacher qualities do you agree with, and which ones should we have included? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
[Image via Edudemic.com]