What I remember most about my good teacher is not the great science lessons or the upcoming tests. In fact, it wasn’t that they even made class fun, or helpful at all. It was their ability to make everyone feel special, important.
My good teacher taught me not only the fundamental skills of reading and writing but more importantly the art of thinking critically about the world around me.
A good teacher provides structure, freedom and guidance
Communicated understanding to those who struggled
A good teacher helps all students and gives extra time to those struggling with the subject. He does not lecture, he teaches. He is not static, he is dynamic.
He moved back and forth in front of our desks answering questions, but his eyes were always moving as if he were looking for someone who might be struggling to understand. It could have been me, although I don’t remember that he ever singled me out. I did struggle with the material, but his demeanor made it easy to raise my hand and ask for help without feeling embarrassed or stupid.
He made us feel like we mattered; he made us feel like we could learn. I think that’s what I remember most about him: his ability to communicate understanding to those who struggled.
It didn’t matter how “smart” you were because he never talked down to you. He would take the time to explain something more than once if you didn’t get it the first time around. No one left his class without a thorough understanding of the material he covered.
Communicated instruction easily and effectively
Teachers are not ranked solely on the merit of their content knowledge. A high-achieving student will have a hard time learning if his or her teacher doesn’t know how to communicate what he or she knows.
Teachers who can effectively communicate their material to their students are invaluable.
They were always prepared and presented lessons in an orderly fashion. They also created lesson plans, so they knew exactly where they were going from the beginning. The structure kept me focused and allowed me to absorb the material more easily.
Good teachers make the material they’re teaching easy to understand. Some do this by using analogies that relate to everyday things, but others use visual aids or examples to get their point across.
All teachers have their own style and way of doing things, but I can pick out the good ones because they have a way of making me feel like I actually understand the material. They seem to know what to say in order to explain a concept in a way that “clicks” with you.