Some teachers are average, some good, while others are great. The difference between them is their ability to identify what they are doing right and what is going wrong. Like a psychologist first you need to know your own strengths and weaknesses before you work on others. Improving upon your strengths and gradually doing away with your weaknesses will allow you to acquire the traits of a great teacher. Here are some of the characteristics of great teachers to aim for, natural or acquired, so that you may inspire the students and encourage them to excel.
A good teacher understands her students while a great one engages with them. Sharing knowledge is not a one-off one-way communication. It has to be a continuous process where both teacher and students participate. To ensure students’ participation and engagement, you should −
Patience is the most prized virtue of any teacher. It is hard to be patient when you have 40 different reasons to be impatient. However, you need to be patient when students make mistakes, knowingly or unknowingly. Here are some scenarios where you might be tempted to lose your cool −
Students make the same mistake repeatedly
Students fail to understand a topic even when you have explained it many times
Class disobeys a classroom rule knowingly
Some students tend to distract you or the class intentionally
Rather than getting irritated or frustrated, you need to work out why a mistake is recurring in the class. Maybe you have not explained the repercussions of flouting a rule fully. If the class or some students are not able to understand a topic, then maybe, you need to change your approach. There is no problem that cannot be overcome if you work towards it diligently.
For teaching a subject, you must have its in-depth knowledge. For effective teaching, you must be enthusiastic about sharing your knowledge. You really need to enjoy what you are teaching if it is say your 15th batch of teaching the same topic. When your excitement to teach is visible, students automatically get interested and caught up in the fervor. They want to know what is so great about this topic that has you interested so much. And the moment you have interested students in the class, half your class management is done. You just need to concentrate on teaching, not managing them.
As discussed in the chapter for creating positive learning environment, displaying positive attitude in the class helps to build a thriving learning atmosphere. It is necessary to not just display a positive attitude but possess one too. A positive attitude comes from belief in oneself and what one is doing. These are some steps you can take to keep a positive attitude −
A great teacher is a lifelong student. No one can know everything that there is to know about any topic. Being a teacher you should be more aware of this than anyone else and always be ready to learn. A teacher should not feel intimidated by a student who asks too many questions. It should be treated as an opportunity to explore the topic from a different approach. If you don’t know answer to any query posed to you, say that you need to confirm if your answer is correct and will get back the next day.
Be sure to revisit the query the next day and answer it fully. If you don’t students will take it as a sign of weakness and not engage with you in the class further.