I’ve always wondered what is the “je ne sais pas quoi’ , that magical quality that great teachers have.
Is it simply their passion? Is it their knowledge? Is it their commitment and personal approach? Is it their creativity? Is it their ability to communicate and affect each student individually (know which buttons to push). Is it their acting and stagemanship? Is it their ……..???????
We all have a great teacher we look up to – a mentor. Who is yours? Mine was Mr. McClacherty, god bless him. Without him, I’d be in the dust bin of history. Geography teacher he was but he had a very understated way of communicating his subject. He also shared himself outside of class and cared. Qualities that endeared him to me. I remember a few days after I graduated high school and him walking over to me (on the sports field, running!!!) and shaking my hand and saying after I said, “Thanks Mr. C” , “Don’t call me Mr., just Jim now.”
I return to that mystery. What makes good teachers. Here are a few things stated at the recent American Teacher Awards (yes! they do exist!).
Here’s what some of the nation’s best teachers have in common:
Thinking Outside of the Classroom - These outstanding teachers don’t just think “outside of the box,” they leap outside of the classroom walls and take their students with them! As much as possible, these teachers try to make classroom experiences exciting and memorable for the students. Imagine how much more enjoyable your lessons would be for both you and your kids if they got to live and experience the material in full, living color, rather than from behind dreary, predictable desks. By giving their students a real world application for the knowledge they gain, these teachers take learning to the next action-packed level!
Creativity in Lesson Presentation - The teachers highlighted in this award show appear dedicated to the credo: “Learning – whatever it takes.” These teachers recognize that bored kids do not learn as well as actively engaged learners do. These teachers are willing to do anything necessary to help kids understand the material at hand and, more than that, catch the fever for knowledge! None of the teachers offered traditional lecture-type lesson presentations – no round robin reading of dry textbooks here. These instructors were dancing, singing, dressing up, and enthusiastically showing the kids how to love the process of learning. The kids enjoyed a hands-on, practical approach to learning, ensuring that many of these exciting lessons will be remembered for a lifetime. We all know how much “behind the scenes” work goes into preparing intricate and innovative lessons, but these teachers know that all of the work is worth it when kids are ready and willing to jump into learning!
A Willingness to be Themselves with the Kids - These teachers embrace the very human aspect of teaching. They aren’t afraid to look silly; they would do anything that helps make learning fun and drive the academic message home. Additionally, the teachers exuberantly love the kids for the individuals that they are, capitalizing on the energy of youth, not trying to squander it for the sake of classroom calm. The students feel respected and readily say that they consider their teachers friends, not just stuffy educators. The teachers invest time, trust, and unbridled energy in their students’ lives, which pays dividends at test time and even when class is over.
Kids Love to Enter Their Classrooms - All of the above reasons combine with the intangible magic of each teacher’s personality so that the children absolutely can’t wait to come to class and get learning! Smiles and enthusiasm permeate these students’ attitudes, regardless of race, class, region, or interests. The teachers can make even the most inaccessible subjects come alive in the sanctuary of their classrooms. The kids and teachers avoid burn-out together, looking forward to class each and every day!
But I think it is much more and also a mixture of the above……
What is it to you?
Please read the attached article about a fantastic, American teacher of the year! Or read here . Also here is a nice run down of all the possible qualities…..nice to reflect on all these. Do you have what it takes?
What makes Robin William’s character in Dead Poet Society such a great teacher…..why does the teacher stand up here/there?