The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. ~Author Unknown
This post continues on where the last post left off. Here are the next five characteristics that make up a "great" teacher, according to my surveyed students. Just as the past five made me think about my actions in the classroom, these five do as well and make me reflect on how I interact with students daily. There's always room for improvement and, in some areas, there's lots of room!
So, according to my students, a "great" teacher...
6. Is flexible with schedule and lessons—not married to lessons or order. Willing to make adjustments. See number one.
Here was an area that received 100% inclusion on all surveys. Flexible teachers were ones who were open to changing lessons and changing presentations based on how students learned, what was happening in school, adjustments that needed to be made, and so on.
Lesson learned: Don’t be so married to my lessons that I ignore my students’ academic needs.Is it more important for students to understand material and master it or just be exposed to material which they quickly forget?
7. Cares about students and gets to know who they are and what they like/dislike
Again, this was a big issue. Teachers spent time just talking to students, relating to them as people and finding out about who that student was. What does that student do in his/her free time? Does he/she have sibilings? What are their likes and dislikes?
Lesson learned: Just talk to kids. It’s important.
8. Are genuine in their care about students
This is similar to the above characteristic. But there is a difference. Students don’t want to feel conned. They want to feel the interest a teacher takes is sincere. My students can spot a phony a mile away.
Lesson learned: let my actions show how I really feel—if I care about my students, show that care in the little things. Remembering the little things about students sends a big message to them that you care.
9. Has a positive attitude about students—believes they can learn
This is closely tied into number 4. Students need to know you believe in them. Lesson learned: Affirm students and any small progress so they know you believe in them.
Lesson learned: All students can learn something. Believe it and teach like it.
10. Is an active participant—not someone who just sits at a desk
Students like to feel as though school is a partnership, not a solitary activity. During time when they are working independently or in groups, they want teachers who interact with them. If they ask a teacher a question, they want an answer. They don’t want to be ignored.
Lesson learned: Engage students in discussions and ask questions during independent work time or during group time. Be an active teacher. Pay attention and respond to their questions and comments.
There are five more to go, but this is interesting stuff. It's always good to get input from students and if we listen close enough to what they're saying, we may just learn a thing or two.