Dr. Wendy Ghiora – Posting #55 – July 3, 2010
Researching “Characteristics of Effective Teachers,” produces over 21,700,000 articles via Google. Many of these articles contain familiar commonalities. Following, is one set of twelve principles presented by Susan Thompson, John G. Greer and Bonnie B. Greer of the University of Memphis that seem to be common to most of the sites on the subject. With that degree of agreement, it would be safe to say, most educators would consider these to be foundational.
1. Fairness Effective teachers know how to be fair and just and try their very best not to have “pets,” or students that are given unfair advantages over other students.
2. Positive Attitude Good teachers are happy to be teaching. They share their positive attitude by praising and recognizing effort and success in their students. This “positive” influence is contagious.
3. Preparedness Some teachers still don’t realize, students can tell when the teacher is not prepared and is just trying to “wing it.” Great teachers are always prepared.
4. Personal Touch Students have fond memories of teachers who connected with them in a personal way. Some teachers do this just by asking students individually, how they are doing. Others intertwine personal stories and experiences with the day’s lesson.
5. Sense of Humor It is nice when a teacher can effectively deliver one-liners that give everyone a chuckle. It’s a bit trickier to have the quick ability to react with good humor and diffuse difficult situations. This is a truly admirable skill of a great teacher.
6. Creativity Students will often remember unusual assignments, use of props, decorations or costumes that inspired them to really think “outside the box.” Such is the calling card of the effective teacher. It could also be a saying such as, “A stitch in time saves nine.” (Benjamin Franklin).
7. Willingness to Admit Mistakes An outstanding teacher will recognize when they have made a mistake and apologize for it. A simple act, yet a rarity among many teachers. It demonstrates the profound power of humility.
8. Forgiving Students too often think of those teachers that would never give them a second chance. Fortunately, a few students had highly effective teachers who let students know, each day, each student started with a clean slate.
9. Respect Since teachers expect to receive respect from their students, it only makes sense students expect the same from teachers. For example, Students appreciate teachers who keep grades confidential. They are also grateful when teachers speak privately to them about behavior issues. Teachers practicing this quality rarely have discipline issues.
10. High Expectations Having high expectations affects the way a teacher teaches and the way the teacher interacts with students. Great teachers express that they believe in their students’ abilities. Such teachers energize and encourage students to reach new heights. They monitor those expectations and never give up on students.
11. Compassion Effective teachers understand the importance of nurturing students in a safe environment. These are the teachers that notice when children are left out of games or other activities and take action to remedy this. Students remember these teachers.
12. Sense of Belonging Students feel like “they belong,” in the classroom of a great teacher. This teacher gives the class a feeling of family. They work cooperatively on mutual goals and with mutual caring. This may be the most important one.
Conclusion: Blog postings are great for gathering information and I’m truly hoping this one helped you. But, the best learning is done when one studies independently. With that in mind, my suggestion is: Take these twelve principles, compare them with your own experience as well as what you find in your own study, and come up with your own list. And when you do, don’t you dare forget to share that list with me.
“Teaching is the highest form of understanding.” Aristotle