A good teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
— Henry Adams
Every teacher wants to be a good teacher, but what is this myth about being a "good teacher"? What are they like?
As a teacher once myself and a school head, I believe that if a teacher possesses the following characteristics and qualities, s/he can become even better…
Good personality and grooming for increased professionalism:
Students always get attracted to teachers with a good personality which leads to better communication, understanding, and ultimately good results. Everyone can have a good, decent, likeable, and presentable personality. Just dress sensibly well, smell good, and be a little gentle, that's all. Our dress influences our students as well. Without a doubt, teachers are role models for their students, so when teachers dress professionally it sends important messages to students. We teach our students not just about the academic subject, but also how an adult professional looks and behaves. By dressing professionally, we are giving them an implicit message about how we see ourselves and our task. The more professionally we dress, the more we tell our students they are important. This might seem like a stretch to some, but the connection between our appearance and the significance of an occasion rings true in so many places. We wear suits and dresses for weddings. We get a haircut and dress attractively for a first date. We even dress up our gifts in fancy paper and packaging to make it seem more special. Our character doesn’t change in these settings, but our appearance does, which communicates how we are assigning significance to any given setting. "Dress shabbily; students remember the clothes. Dress impeccably; students remember the teacher".
Deep knowledge and growth:
Another important characteristic of a good teacher is his in-depth knowledge of the teaching subject. There is a saying that ‘a teacher is only as good as his knowledge is’. If he himself lacks knowledge of a certain subject that he teaches, he is never going to make a name for himself. So, sign up for only those subjects which you have expertise in, and it is a moral duty too.
Congenial and approachable:
A good teacher can be firm while taking the class but amicable with the students outside the class. Many students think of their teachers as their enemies, but if a teacher has the above qualities students will love to talk and share their problems with them without being hesitant. But that does not mean you become too personal with the students as it can lead to conflicts of interest and loss of credibility. If students start inviting you to movies and parties, you have to take a step back. For me, being friendly has included activities like playing basketball with the class, going for an arrangement class and talking to them about their likes and dislikes. This not only helps them open up but they develop good conversation skills, and discipline is managed as their energies get channelised.
Good communication and listening skills:
If a teacher’s communication skills are good, she can convey her lectures with better skill and results. If she is a good speaker, her class strength increases automatically. People love to hear a person who can speak well. Apart from being a good communicator, a good teacher should also have the characteristic of being an even better listener. A good listener will always have many friends and fans. When a good teacher develops this patient quality in herself, she starts to become a great teacher.
A sense of humour:
A person generally teaches the next generation and as they are younger, they are expected to have more fun in the class too. So, a good teacher is the one who can keep up his sense of humour, and with his strong communication skills and personality, can also maintain the discipline of the class. Teachers should be able to have a deep conversation with the kids and, at the same time, joke around with them too.
Only when a teacher is compassionate will students love him, respect him, apply themselves and bring greater output and results. As a teacher we motivate our students to do well in studies but if we are compassionate towards our students, if we truly feel for them and their performance, we can communicate and motivate them better.
Commitment and innovation:
A committed teacher will always bring the best out of the back-benchers and will be an asset to the institution. A teacher should also teach innovatively to bring best results. A good teacher will adjust his approach to manage children from different backgrounds. Teachers must stay abreast of innovations including the use of new technologies while teaching and for home assignments. Students will be more responsive to the contemporary teacher than one who got stuck in the last millennium.
About the Author:
Dr Harleen Kaur is the Founder Principal, Mount Carmel International School, Naraingarh (Ambala, Haryana).
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