Who was your favorite teacher growing up? A myriad of teachers passed through our lives from preschool through high school but only a cherished few left lasting impressions. So, what makes a great teacher?
According to Teaching.org, “A great teacher is one a student remembers and cherishes forever. Teachers have long-lasting impacts on the lives of their students, and the greatest teachers inspire students toward greatness.” The website created their own comprehensive Top 10 qualities of a successful teacher:
An Engaging Personality and Teaching Style– a great teacher is very engaging and holds the attention of students in all discussions.
Clear Objectives for Lessons– A great teacher establishes clear objectives for each lesson and works to meet those specific objectives during each class.
- Effective Discipline Skills– A great teacher has effective discipline skills and can promote positive behaviors and change in the classroom.
- Good Classroom Management Skills– A great teacher has good classroom management skills and can ensure good student behavior, effective study and work habits, and an overall sense of respect in the classroom.
- Good Communication with Parents– A great teacher maintains open communication with parents and keeps them informed of what is going on in the classroom as far as curriculum, discipline, and other issues. They make themselves available for phone calls, meetings, and email.
- High Expectations– A great teacher has high expectations of their students and encourages everyone to always work at their best level.
- Knowledge of Curriculum and Standards– A great teacher has thorough knowledge of the school’s curriculum and other standards they must uphold in the classroom. They ensure their teaching meets those standards.
- Knowledge of Subject Matter– This may seem obvious, but is sometimes overlooked. A great teacher has incredible knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject matter they are teaching. They are prepared to answer questions and keep the material interesting for the students.
- Passion for Children and Teaching– A great teacher is passionate about teaching and working with children. They are excited about influencing students’ lives and understand the impact they have.
- Strong Rapport with Students– A great teacher develops a strong rapport with students and establishes trusting relationships.
The list could go on and on. Great teachers ultimately answer “yes” to the subliminal questions coming indirectly from each student: Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?
I’ve had the pleasure of substituting at the Matagorda School on several occasions and what I’ve learned is it’s a “well-oiled machine” when it comes to getting the job done. This week I was a last-minute substitute for one of the elementary teachers that fell ill at school. By the time I arrived, the teacher was gone but her fellow elementary teachers were riding shotgun for her. Within my first fifteen minutes in the classroom, three teachers, a teaching assistant, the principal and the superintendent checked in with me to make sure I had everything I needed to proceed. At the desk, the teacher left detailed notes on the curriculum for each grade level. To raise a child really does take a village.
Great teachers are a national treasure. Let them know how much they are appreciated. Surprise them with a card, or better yet a gift card or a free lunch. Let’s answer yes to their own subliminal, indirect questions: Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter? The end of the school year is fast approaching. Now, more than ever, let’s cheer them on to the finish line! We see you! We hear you, and yes, teachers matter in Matagorda County!
Originally published in the Bay City Tribune on Sunday, April 30, 2017.