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December 01, 2011

What Makes A Good Teacher?

What makes a good teacher?

It's hard to define, but those who hire teachers need to know what they are looking for - and I'm sure we all know or have experienced...

...bad teachers.

Bad teachers, at least the ones I have had, seem to hate their students, their jobs and their supervisors.

Good teachers, on the other hand, make that memorable special connection with almost every student.

Here are some other characteristics of a good teacher. I urge you to use these as your reference points.

1. Knowledge of the subject matter. You have to be comfortable with whatever you are teaching. In ESL, for example, the assumption that you "know" English just because you are a native speaker will lead you to catastrophe - for you and your students - and maybe even your school.

2. Patience. There are few certainties in teaching, but frustration is one of them. Students, peers and supervisors and possibly parents (especially if they are paying high tuition) can make you crazy. And don't forget local authorities, customs officials and landlords and......well, you get the picture. The better you can roll with the unpredictable and generally unreliable people around you, the better off everyone will be. And you just might start to see some academic progress the last place you thought you'd see it.

3. Intellectual curiosity. I love to learn along with, or even from my students. They inhabit a different world than I do, and I always marvel at, and sometimes mourn, and sometimes even laugh at their situations.

And their questions, sometimes earnest and sometimes silly, make me do the extra work that will make me a better teacher.

I'll have more thoughts on what makes a good teacher in my next post, but feel free to send in your observations. We are all always learning.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle).

Posted by mmorf at December 1, 2011 12:17 AM


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