Friday, June 15, 2012

What Makes A Great Teacher?

My daughter, a new parent, asked me a tough question the other day - What Makes A Great Teacher? Guess she thought that I would have the answer, after all I had been a classroom teacher, a parent volunteer, PTA officer, and a student myself. I should know something about teaching, right?

That's when I started building my list and came up with the D&B Ten Traits of a Great Teacher list. A great teacher - 
  1. Realizes that he/she is teaching young people first and the subject second. (Just wish more teachers followed this rule.)
  2. Has a good command of the English grammar. (Nothing says 'Not so good" when a teacher says, "ain't' and "they is" or "Me and him" . I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea.)
  3. Stops, looks and listens to students. Sometimes you are the child's real life line, the one that can see the bullying, the abuse, the sadness.
  4. Maintains discipline in the classroom. A child can not learn in chaos. Unfortunately not enough teachers know how to efficiently 'run' a classroom.
  5. Isn't afraid to come early, stay late, or even skip lunch to help a child learn. Teaching is not a 9 to 5 job. If that's the kind of job you want, don't be a teacher. 
  6. Is creative. 'Thinking outside the box' is what outstanding teachers do.
  7. Doesn't teach 'behind the desk.' Teachers need to circulate, not hide behind a desk.
  8. Open to new ideas. "I've always done it this way" doesn't work in a classroom.
  9. Knows his/her subject thoroughly and stays current. Like students, teachers should always be learning, always be reading, always expanding knowledge.
  10. Communicates with parents. Talking to and listening to parents are so important. Wish more teachers were more parent-proactive and parent-understanding.
One more thing - if you've had a great teacher, one who made a different, be sure to tell him. 

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