Do you remember who your favorite teacher in school was? Was it a nice and sweet old lady with calm voice who taught history and made you feel as if you were far-far away from the classroom fighting in a battle that took place centuries ago? Was it a young and lively English literature teacher who was a recent college graduate and who brought a lot of life and energy to the classroom? Was it your biology teacher who was so amazing that could give anybody any other grade except A? Why do we love certain teachers? Why do we defend them if our classmates say that their class is boring and useless? Which qualities does a good teacher possess? To answer these questions we have studied various forums and read students’ evaluations of their instructors. In this case nothing is as effective as students’ comments.
What is surprising is students can feel that it is not teachers who give no homework assignments that truly make a difference in their lives. There are other more serious things that help teachers connect with their class and find an approach to every single student.
A good teacher knows that a friendly atmosphere in a classroom is a must.
This may sound simple, but in fact not every teacher manages to follow this simple rule. A teacher should give his or her students an example; he or she should become a model of behavior in a classroom for children. It causes a huge problem when students react negatively to their classmates’ wrong responses. A teacher should not make the students scared of talking; on the contrary, the environment in the classroom should be collaborative and supportive. A teacher must show his/her students that laughing at wrong responses is bad and to teach students listen to each other and analyze. If someone has made a mistake, there might be certain logic behind this mistake. In a supportive environment students are not afraid of expressing their ideas – they are encourages to talk and participate in discussions.
A good teacher sets high expectations for everybody in the class.
One of the mistakes that teachers make is to criticize a student in front of the entire class and to mock him/her. This may sound crazy, but such situations occur in some schools. There is a common practice to say: you are not ready for the class, as always? I expected that. No, this approach is completely wrong. No matter how problematic a student is, a teacher should expect a lot from every single student. Teachers must remember that their attention and support can make even the worst troublemaker interested in the subject. Let you students know that you believe in them and that you expect that they will achieve the highest results – and they will not disappoint you.
A good teacher is always enthusiastic.
Certainly, if you show no interest in your subject, how do you expect your students to be passionate about it? There is only one way to make them happy – to discover something new about your subject, to interact with students, and to combine theory and practice. They want and need to see that all these abstract concepts can be applied in practice. They need to feel your energy and to see that you always come to class fully prepared with a lot of additional materials and a lot of exciting activities. Students want to feel that their teacher loves to teach them. This is how they get inspired.
A good teacher is respectful and attentive.
A good teacher never discusses a student’s personal life, problems, or negative features in the classroom and treats every child as an important individuality and an integral part of their small community. A good teacher makes sure that everybody feels well physically and mentally, that everybody is comfortable and satisfied. Students want their teachers to know a little more about them to help them in the case of necessity. Students need their teachers to be always there for them; teachers should be available more often and be ready to spend time with a child if the child requires extra help. This means that good teachers are meant to be reliable and trustworthy, only then they will find their place in students’ hearts.
A good teacher must:
Be a mother in school, according to some students. They mean that good teachers are caring and understanding. Good teachers need to be honest and fair: if there is a conflict between a ‘good’ students and a ‘troublemaker’, it is important to listen to everybody’s point of view and to find a solution together – not to blame the ‘troublemaker’; very often these students become victims because nobody believes them and wants to see the light in them. Good teachers also learn from his/her students and do not always take an authoritative position. Sometimes they need to become their students’ friends and to communicate with them as if they were not in school. This is amazing how a small sincere conversation can change the atmosphere in a classroom. And, of course, a teacher should be an expert in his/her field. Students are very sensitive and they can feel artificiality easily. We are so happy that you have decided to be a teacher. This is a fantastic career path. Make sure you care about your students and your subject, and you will love this job.