13 things that make or break a great teacher
Most of us would think that the word teacher merely applies to the school setting. I think that this applies in family, social and also all professional areas as well. To me “teacher” goes hand in hand with being a leader – being a mentor. Can you think of the best teacher you have encountered? Now think of the worst one(s). Interesting contrast do you not agree? My best was my English teacher here in the States while attending evening college. He brought the best out in me even though it was in a language I only learned later in life. Conversely, the worst was my English teacher in German high school who once asserted that I would never, ever “get” English and never be able to speak it correctly and much less being able to write in English. He was also known for throwing his key chain at students when he wanted their attention.
Here are a few attributes that I believe you will find our best teachers (mentors) have in common. They also represent criteria that we must possess as parents and business leader-managers.
A good teacher,
- has a profound, current knowledge of the subject matter.
- conducts continuous research in his field or related field.
- has an intuitive understanding of human learning.
- has an understanding of student motivation.
- understands the proper use of assessments / exams.
- trusts students in their ability to achieve and learn.
- possesses openness: Talks about his own personal journey as well as listening to the student’s own journey.
- discusses secrets he has learned.
- treats students with decency and respect.
- is genuine and sincere.
- lets student struggle to exercise the material and tolerates mistakes made.
- provides a fun and safe learning environment.
- makes the lesson about the student and not about himself or the school.
This should sound familiar and perhaps you can think of more points that you could share with us. While I hold fond memories of my favorite teachers, I also wrote a lovely mail to my high school English teacher in the best English that I could muster about how I learned to write and pronounce English correctly – just not in his class.
Ponder these points in your own social and business settings and I believe you will be amazed how many times you slip into the role of a teacher every week.