Monday, August 8, 2016

What Makes a Great Teacher?

Recently I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on what makes an outstanding teacher. A quick Google Search for the answer to this question results in countless hits. Within 5 minutes of exploration I had a list of over 50 key words connected with outstanding teachers. After some synthesis, I have boiled it down into 4 key components. Great teachers are knowledgeable leaders, engaging communicators, determined believers, and learners filled with love. Within these components, there's room for lots of diversity and methods of implementation, but these 4 components are essential.

What makes a great teacher? Great teachers are knowledgeable leaders, engaging communicators, determined believers and learners filled with love.

1. Knowledgeable Leaders

Teachers need to be knowledgeable about their content, best teaching practices, and human development. They need to be able to create a safe, orderly environment where learning can be optimized. Leaders need to be confident, passionate, and adaptable. Teachers must have the ability think flexibly and to respond to students in the moment. They need to be able to be creative problem solvers. Leaders bring out the best in others.

2. Determined Believers

Teachers need to believe in the value of what they are teaching and the power of education to empower all people to succeed. Teachers need to be firm in their belief that all students can learn. They must have high expectations. They need to persevere in the face of challenges.

3. Engaging Communicators

In order to effectively teach, we need to be able to hold students' attention, motivate them, and explain concepts clearly. We also need to be genuinely interested in our students as people. Teachers need to engage with students as listeners to determine how they can support students in achieving their goals.

4. Learners filled with Love

Most importantly, teachers need to be filled with love for learning and learners. Relationships are essential to good teaching. We establish relationships with students, parents, and colleagues by interacting with them in a respectful, caring way. Teachers need to model the life-long learning we hope to inspire in our students.

Am I missing anything? What do you think makes an outstanding teacher? 

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