By Sean Scarpiello
As teaching gradually becomes a popular profession, more and more people are looking to be teachers. We currently have the highest number of people qualified to be teachers than ever before. Although there is such a large amount of people to pick from, most of these people would probably be terrible teachers. Even of all the people currently employed as teachers, a lot of them are simply poor educators. It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher. A good teacher needs to have a particular personality and qualities. So what kind of qualities make a good teacher?
We have all had bad teachers. They come in all different forms. There are the popular teachers that everyone likes, but cannot teach their subject. Likewise, there are extremely well educated teachers that cannot get their point across. These teachers just do not know how to teach. Many teachers do not pay much attention to their lesson plan and curriculum and that is very obvious to the students. Good teachers do not get enough credit for the hard work that they do put into their time in the classroom. Good teachers are able to put themselves in the mindset of their students whether they are in 2nd grade or seniors in high school. A lot of critical thinking goes into teaching. Many teachers either underestimate or overestimate the intelligence of their students. Many high school teachers are notorious for overestimating their students’ intelligence. For example, many math teachers have several struggling students a year. In math, many students forget some of the basic principles which direct complex math equations. While a handful of teachers assume all the students remember their basic math skills, good teachers take some time during class to review these simple concepts.
Finding this balance in each class is difficult but the best teachers always find this point in their students’ intelligence. The good teachers are also able to stimulate the brains of the smarter students while still being able to attend to the students that have a difficult time learning. Too many teachers pick one of the two extremes of students to target. Often, teachers target the smarter students in the class and cause even the average students to become lost. Some teachers which target the students which learn slower find just as many problems as teachers which focus on faster learning students. The smarter students quickly become bored because they are not being challenged. Therefore, many students lose interest in the subject being taught and even the smarter students' grades begin to drop because they put in less effort.
Everybody has also had a teacher being unfair, unreasonable, or one that just cannot be pleased. These are probably the most frustrating teachers to have as a student. More often than not, students struggling with C’s or D’s in a class are putting in more time than students with A’s. It is extremely difficult to be a student these days and students put in more time into their studies than it may seem. The best teachers recognize this and motivate their students to keep up the good work. Many teachers call home if there are problems in class. What teachers should do is call when students are doing a good job. As a student, it feels good to know that your hard work and effort is not going unrecognized. Even if the student has a less than spectacular grade in class, a phone call home telling mom and dad that there is an obvious increase in effort will motivate the student to keep working hard. Even in high school, students like to have their hard work recognized by both their teachers and their parents.
One last key quality which good teachers possess is respect. This means the teacher respects the students and the students respect the teacher. If the teacher respects students, teachers will have a better time teaching. They will quickly learn the strengths and weakness of their students and help each student work to fix their weaknesses. Students will recognize this and will become motivated to work harder in school to prove to themselves and others that they can improve. If students respect their teachers, teachers will be taken seriously and will have more authority in class. Many substitute teachers have a tough time demanding respect from students. Thus, they are taken advantage of and walked all over whether they realize it not. It is rare that a substitute teacher comes into class and has even a little control over the class. Substitute teachers need to lay down the law quickly in the beginning of class and set the tone for the rest of the time in class. This is easiest if the substitute knows the classroom policies and implements them right away.
These are only a few of the key differences which set the great teachers apart from the average teachers. From a student’s perspective, these aspects are very important because students like to have attention and feel important in class. Many students also like to be motivated and need an authority figure to push them to reach places that they once thought impossible.