Teaching is a job that offers great challenges and great rewards. It is more than a full time job, it is a career that puts on its shoulders the goal of honing and preparing students to become productive and conscientious citizens. Like in any profession there are those who do a fair job, those who do a good job, and those who are outstanding. The great teachers have a common set of traits that they display in their approach to teaching. For education experts and entrepreneurs like Thomas Rollins teaching requires great skill patience and commitment. In his series, The Great Courses, he has brought together some of the world’s greatest teachers to educate students on many topics. He has seen first-hand how the absolute best operate. Here are some of their common characteristics.
Great Teachers have Great Attitudes
Teaching is part information and part attitude and students have a difficult time telling if the first is real and reliable but they have no problem with deciding on the second.
A teacher’s attitude will make all the difference in whether students have a desire to learn and are excited about the subject matter. Think about your favorite teachers and you will agree that what they share is a passion for their jobs and for their desire to engage and inspire students. This got demonstrated in their attitude and demeanor. They are warm, enthusiastic, comforting and supportive. They take extra time to answer questions and have a genuine concern that students understand the lessons and do well on exams. Many of them have a great sense of humor and use this humor to make students feel more comfortable with the class, the subject and themselves.
Great Teachers Expect all Students to Do Well
Great teachers know that students have different intelligence levels and abilities to take in the subject and understand it thoroughly. This does not mean that every student cannot succeed on any topic. What it means is that each student might need to be offered a different approach to learn and given the content at a different speed and offered different levels of support. Great teachers in addition to finding the most effective ways to deliver their subject matters also pay attention to individual student needs for learning and makes sure they are met. This requires more time and focus but it is what each great teacher views as part of their job.
Great Teachers Accept Being a Role Models and Leaders
Like it or not being in front of a group of people for extended periods of time positions you as a leader and the fact that you have been presented as a knowledgeable and wise provider of important information makes you someone to be envied and copied, i.e. a role model. Many teachers will not accept this description, they feel that teaching is just a job that they get paid to do and their goal is to teach, get a paycheck and do only those things required to continue to be employed.
In terms of the role model designation, they say that this is the designation for parents not teachers. Great teachers understand things differently. They know what they mean and can mean to students and how their role can make a positive impact on developing minds and hearts.
Great teachers feel differently. They welcome being looked up to and the chance to lead. This quality alone makes them special.
We should respect all teachers and the great one should be revered.