I dedicate this entry to a clueless elementary school principal at Sycamore (IL) District 427, because he clearly doesn’t know what makes up a good teacher, and given his position, desperately needs to figure this out.
So the question to my students is:
What are the most important qualities of a good teacher?
- Someone who is not judgemental. somebody whi is always there if you need extra help. For example: e-mail and non-school hours.
- Acceptance, understanding, creative
- Nice and teach a lot, but also give a lot of breaks
- one who can explain things better.
- I like to be interested in what I learn, so the teacher has to be interesting. Also, of course, nice, understanding and somewhat funny.
- Someone who doesn’t get too angry.
- Good speaker … asks us questions during class
- very funny
- The main quality is funny, because the less boring class is, the more I pay attention.
- Organized, helpful, understanding, reasonable.
- Supportive and fun
- Know how I learn
- Makes learning easy
- Looks forward to class everyday
- Funny, chill, like a teen again
- Explains, but not overdone
- They have to be fun, and want to get to know the students better and be interactive and exciting [Note: They may have misunderstood the question and described what they like about video games.]
- Smart, funny, friendly
- Being able to understand the student.
- Smart, focused
- Nice, not strict, laid back
- A good teacher is nice and sweet and understands when you might not do well in class on certain days because everyone has those off days.
- Nice & fun, gives break times, not boring
- Teachers who hope the best for their students, not ones who just don’t care.
- A lot of patience
- Respectful, positive attitude, willing to help, doesn’t pick favorites.
- Someone who I can trust, and someone who knows what they’re talking about.
- When teachers make a point to connect with their students
- Willing to teach, listen to students, compassion
- Makes sure EVERYONE understands the information
- Easy to comprehend
- Helps kis learn in fun ways without overwhelming them with a lot of work and throwing too much information at them
- Makes sure everyone knows before moving on.
- I like it when a teacher gets personal about some things.
- Always enthusiastic … has a sense of humor even if it isn’t the best.
- Sympathy! Some days just aren’t good for high school kids and any teacher that can understand that is a saint. [Note: I think I do this in my class, but I am not saint.]
- Gives good notes
- Easy to talk to
- Fun, easy to talk to, challenging
- Young good looking female [Note: this individual is going to be having a short talk on the subject of how weak attempts at humor get taken out of context and ruin people’s careers]
- Not rushing through things that are difficult
- A teacher who genuinely cares about their students and puts as much effort into the class that they want the kids to put in.
- laid back
- Someone who makes me want to come to class
- Interesting, fun, quirky, fair, but also in control
I did remove a lot of the repeats … and I will climb up on my soapbox to make some points.
First off, I would agree with a great many of these. Some might not be as important as others, IMO, however, note that not one student (I ask you to take my word for this) said things like: doesn’t give homework … gives less homework … gives easy tests … easy grader, etc. I think this serves as anecdotal support that high school students do have some serious ideas about what makes a good instructor.
Second … this is not only a long list (some repeats for sure), but it is a long list of some fairly abstract concepts. I think the one thing that we could all agree on: we know it when we see it … that is: teaching is an art (perhaps in keeping with this standard, it is more like pornography … I won’t argue), and is very far from a science. Keep this in mind when people talk about trying to rate teachers or schools, or students and base everything about them on some objective score. I think we all agree that you cannot truly objectively rank art … I argue the same for teaching and learning.
Third … I am not going to sit here and say “teaching is the greatest or most difficult job on Earth”. It is the best job for me. There are other, far more difficult jobs (parenting jumps immediately to mind … surgeon, president, intelligence operative, soldier/sailor/marine/pilot also jump to mind to form a non-exclusive list). Teaching requires a certain level of education and training and preparation, but there are jobs that require more. However, whenever anyone thinks that there is any truth to the aphorism “those who can do, and those who can’t, teach” … and that teaching is even remotely “easy”. With due respect, they can suck me.
Fourth point … Think about how this group of students was all over the place with their list of “what was most important”. I guarantee you that if I polled adults from any and every walk of life, there would be equal disagreement on this list.
Yet, there are politicians and citizens who think they can base a teacher’s livelihood based on some short list of objective criteria.
Think about that folks when you are considering who to vote for … there are plenty of outstanding teachers who fit those criteria above who would be dropped from their job in a country minute because they put student education and welfare above the results of a standardized test. This is already happening. When selecting a politician to vote for, there are a lot of issues that go into deciding a good leader. All I ask: make this one of the things you consider.