Apparently tomorrow I am being interviewed by ABC News Online, in response to the NEITA award I won last year. They want to have a chat with me about what makes a good teacher.
While grappling with the answer inside my head, I decided who better to ask for an opinion on that question than the real judges – the kids themselves.
This is what they said…*
Evan, Age 11: “A good teacher is somebody who cares for the welfare, benefit and education of his/her students and does so in a creative, inspiring and interesting manner.”
Devon, Age 17: “A good teacher is someone who can have friendly, warm relationships with students while still maintaining control over students as in being the teacher to students. A good teacher knows what they are talking about. They are passionate about what they are teaching, rather than just repeating from the text book they used at university. A good teacher also goes the extra mile to be creative, dynamic and interesting.”
Kayla, Age 15: “A good teacher can relate to children and the things they teach relate to children. A good teacher makes sure that children enjoy what they are learning and they make it fun to learn.”
Rachel, Age 14: “A teacher that can actually teach and explain the work properly. They can be fun and take a joke but they can also keep the class quiet and disciplined.”
Isaac, Age 7: This was a tough question for a seven year old to answer, so I rephrased it by asking him if he thinks his own teacher is good, to which he replied yes. I then asked why he thinks she is a good teacher. His exact words: “She is fair. She is always polite. She never does things for no reason. She likes all of us.”
The kids get it, don’t they? Even a seven year old seems to know what matters when it comes to the person he spends hours with every day.
Recently, I read Rick Lavoie’s, “The Motivation Breakthrough.” Rick is an inspirational speaker, educator, successful author, award winner…the list goes on. Us teachers are fortunate to have people like Rick Lavoie in our profession. This is quoted directly from the foreword to his book. He writes:
“On a recent long plane trip, I made a list of the names and character traits of the twenty-five best teachers whom I have seen over the past thirty years. One of the most common traits listed was “humility.” Most truly great teachers simply don’t know how great they are and constantly strive to improve. So, if you have worked with me in the past and you think that your name is on the list—it probably isn’t. And if you think that you didn’t make the list—you probably did. Congratulations.”
I hope I can be humble – honestly so.
I hope I never make it onto Rick Lavoie’s list.
The day I stop striving to improve my teaching will need to be the day I stop teaching.
I hope I will always meet the expectations of all the Evans, Devons, Kaylas, Rachels and Isaacs that I get to teach.
Am I qualified to answer ABC Online’s question? I’m not sure. I don’t know if I am a good teacher… but I certainly strive to be one. Perhaps there–in lies the answer.
What do YOU think makes a good teacher? Tell me please…I would love to know.
*I did not tell any of the kids why I was asking them the question. All I said was that I needed them to answer honestly.