Good teachers are remembered for years and we all know how hugely they contributed to building success and happiness in life.
Sadly there are a lot of the others. Here’s a checklist to help recognise a good teacher and reassure you that you ARE entitled to respect and genuine help with learning. That is, after all, their job.
1. A Good Teacher Smiles. Well it might not be an actual smile, but it will be a nice expression directed at you, or a warm tone of voice, or kind words of praise.
They know that kindness teaches every time where irritability switches students off.
2. Good teachers give balanced feedback. That means putting both positive and negative comments on work. These should be approximately equal in force, though there may be more quantity in the negative parts to help explain.
3. Good teachers notice individual students. They use personal names. They give specific comments for one person, and not always for the same few people. They don’t play favourites.
4. Good teachers never, never tell a student they are stupid. Or use any other nasty names or labels. All that does is make the student brain freeze with shame. That does not bring out an active, clever brain.
5 Good teachers LOVE questions (on or near the topic).
Questions are the life blood of intelligence.
Questions show a student is paying attention (which teachers love).
Questions are shortcuts: they show where a teacher needs to put in more work, so they don’t waste time on areas not needed.
Questions bring a ;lesson alive, stop itbeing teacher blah, blah, blah. That’s good for the teacher and for everyone else.
Questions do need to be about the work of course, or a subject pretty close to it.
6. Good teachers explain clearly. If you ask again, they explain clearly agin, a bit differently. They don’t ever tell you it’s simple. If it were really that simple you wouldn’t be asking!
7. Good teachers don’t teach into the break or make you late for the next class by going over time. It’s their job to time their teaching right.
8. Good teachers don’t swear, lose it, cry, or do dramas. Very occasionally a teacher might have a real life crisis going on and deserve patient understanding. But generally, teachers should be in control of their personal reactions.
9. Good teachers are big enough to say sorry, or admit they don’t know. No one knows it all, or gets it right every time. Only weak people try to con others that they do.
10. Good teachers respect their students. They know that a class will achieve what they are expected to achieve. ??? Magic? In a way. Research showed decades ago that if a teacher expects their class to do well, they will do well. If they expect their class to crash out, they will.
Now no teacher gets it right all the time. Mistakes are human, so if they are to be patient with students it makes sense to be patient with theirs.
But mistakes are about trying to do better, so they don't keep happening on and on the same way. A teacher who just keeps trashing one of these points over and over again is not very good, though they might not know it. Maybe they need to read this page!