In every teacher’s life, there comes a time when they must watch the film, ‘Dead Poets Society.’ If that time hasn’t come for you yet, we strongly recommend making that your weekend task. You’ll see why.
Think about the teachers that left the greatest impressions on you, growing up. Maybe you have more than one of those special teachers, and it’s very likely that they’re all completely different people to each other, with different education styles, personalities and approaches.
But that’s just the beauty of great teachers: there is no one definitive set of qualities that make them great. But what is definite is the impact left behind by all great teachers: they’re cherished and remembered for the rest of their students’ lives.
In a classroom, though, it’s hard to always focus on being ‘amazing’. This selfless job often has you working long hours, taking term papers home, and staying up all night to put together lesson plans. It’s easy to get lost in the workload, and forget to focus on being impactful, influential and building better relationships with your students.
There are a few things that you can do though, that can work wonders in climbing you up your students’ favorite teacher list.
Here are the top five qualities that we believe take you from being a good teacher to an unforgettably great teacher:
1. Work on being an ace communicator
This one’s obvious, we know, but it’s so, so important. As a teacher, it’s not enough for you to speak the language of your subject alone. You need to really get things across. Check and double-check your students are on the same page as you, go over challenging concepts again, discuss ideas, and above all, listen.
‘Listening’ is what truly makes you a remarkable communicator. And for someone that talks to a class full of people for over 6 hours a day, that could take a little more conscious effort than you’d think!
This great article will leave you with a few more valuable tips on becoming an ace communicator in the classroom.
2. Invest in building great student-teacher relationships
“No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” – Dr. James Comer
Try and establish strong, positive relationships with your students. Connect with them. This one is often about wearing various hats: find a way to be a friend, a guide and a parent all in one.
Great teachers are intuitive, and always tuned into what their students are feeling. Try and respond to the energy in a classroom by modifying your classes a little bit. Make things interactive, slow down, speed up, tell a story. Your students will see that you’re making an effort, and be thankful. That’s the beginning of a bond. Because you ‘get’ them.
Private tutors often have a much better shot at this, because of the smaller groups and one-on-one attention they can afford to give their students. In larger classes, it gets harder but take a look at this amazing TED talk on being a champion for your students for some inspiration.
3. Be well-organized and in control
There is nothing more unsettling than a frazzled teacher. If you feel like you have no control over your lesson and your class, you’re not going to be able to deliver an effective class, let alone an impactful one.
Plan ahead, give yourself plenty of time to prepare for a class, and make sure you’re comfortable with your materials, planned exercises, activities and possible questions. Your ‘zen’ helps put even the most haphazard of your students at ease, opening the door for you to start to create that connection. The organization part is the decluttering process that readies you to deliver some unforgettable teaching. It’s important.
4. Be humble
Teachers learn an exceptional amount from their students. These can be valuable learnings, but only if there are no egos involved.
Your humility is going to help you to deal with difficult students and never think of anything as a ‘me versus you’ scenario. Challenging days in the classroom can leave the best of teachers feeling deflated. But just shifting the focus, and understanding that every student comes with a different story and a different set of challenges, helps you make the entire experience as meaningful for you as it will be for your students.
Easier said than done, of course, but greatness never does come easy, does it?!
5. Truly understand a teacher’s responsibility
Your responsibility as a teacher is not only to teach a subject, get your students through an exam and then do it all over again. It’s much deeper than that.
You play a more significant role in your students’ lives, knowingly or unknowingly. The best teachers sometimes make the biggest impacts on a student’s life over a lunchroom chat, or in the school gym. Great teachers are invested: they’re always plugged in, always trying to add value.
People forget math lessons, but not life lessons. Especially at high school, the young people that you teach everyday are exploring, growing and forming habits, opinions and thoughts that might stick forever. A great teacher’s shoulders are heavy with the responsibility of shaping those thoughts positively and helping these young people on their paths to good, happy, fulfilling lives.
There is no doubt that teaching is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It is also one of the most rewarding. As a teacher, you are in a position to empower the people that are going to run the world tomorrow, and as a great teacher, you realize the immenseness of that responsibility every single day.
We’ll leave you with some famous words from William A. Ward:
“The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires”.
Great teachers also make great tutors! Join other great teachers and tutors on taddrees®, the UAE’s top tutor-matching service, to become part of a revolution in private tutoring. Join taddrees® today.
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