Ten Signs of a Good Teacher

Teacher and Students

Spotting a Great Teacher

Over the last 20 years, technology and information have re-shaped the way that teachers are instructing our students. As a parent, it may be years since you were in the classroom. How can you tell if your child’s teacher is using innovative instructional methods, or is simply counting down the days until summer vacation? We have compiled a list of 10 signs that your child has landed a great instructor.

1.   Communicates Frequently With Parents: The most obvious sign that your child has a great teacher is if you have heard from them. Teacher-parent collaboration is crucial to a student’s success. Even if your student is an all-star in the classroom, a good teacher will take the time to communicate your child’s successes or struggles with you. Great teachers will keep their lines of communication open to all parents.

2.   Is Involved and Available: Great teachers take a vested interest in their student’s lives outside of the classroom. They take the time to get involved in after-school programs, offer tutoring or help sessions, become sponsors of various school clubs, or even coach sports teams.

3.   Engages Students in Discussion and Debate: The best teachers do not spoon-feed their students the answers to their material. Good teachers allow students to lead and get involved in extensive discussions. By defending their points and deducting their own conclusions, children are given an opportunity to learn from fellow students and explore alternative ideas.

4.   Understands the Reasoning Behind Each Lesson: Almost anyone can take a pre-planned lesson from a book and teach it to a group of students. However, great teachers go beyond the surface of learning. These teachers are passionate about their material. They know why they are teaching a specific lesson, how the lesson correlates and interacts with the overall theme of the course, and what they hope the students will take from each lesson.

5.   Listens to Students: A great speaker can expertly command a classroom like a puppeteer masterfully conducting the ears of eager students. Yet, the greatest impact can be made by those speakers with a knack for listening. The teacher who has the patience and desire to listen to the needs, fears and hopes of his or her students can evolve from a mere teacher to a beloved mentor.

6.   Rewards Students for Their Efforts: Many teachers focus their attention too harshly on what their students are failing to do, instead of rewarding the things they are doing right.Yes, discipline is an important aspect of the classroom, especially when it comes to fostering a controlled learning environment. However, if a teacher merely harps on the short-comings of a student, the student may react negatively or lose self-esteem. A decent teacher will let students know where they can improve, whereas a great teacher will reward their successes, in addition to communicating areas for improvement.

7.   Establishes Clear Objectives and Expectations: Your student should never be completely shocked or angry about a test score they receive from his or her teacher. Great teachers clearly outline their expectations and objectives for every assignment. Then students have an understanding or framework that helps them to stay on task and be successful. In return, teachers can evaluate whether or not they are meeting the objectives they have set for themselves and for their students.

8.   Explores New Tools and Teaching Methods: While certain teaching methodologies have worked for decades, a teacher who consistently teaches the same lessons in the same manner is not only stunting a his/her own professional growth, but the students’ growth as well. Great teachers will teach lessons in a variety of ways using innovative and interactive tools and methods to engage the vast spectrum of learning styles in the classroom.

9.   Continues Their Education: Teachers should love to learn. Already a master in their subject area, great teachers will seek out new information regarding their teaching practices and their students’ interests. They will scour information sources looking for relevant real-world examples to discuss with their students. In many cases, teachers will further their own studies gaining master’s and doctorate degrees.

10.   Teach Holistically: Some students have anxiety and mental stress which can severely impact their daily learning. A great educator will recognize that their students may be experiencing a type of psychological noise or mental anxiety, and take this into account when formulating and executing the lesson.

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