Hey everyone! Just wondering if I could get an essay question critique. Among other things, I'm worried it's too long (583 words). I could probably cut out a point to shorten it if necessary. Anyway, I'd appreciate any feedback! I tried to focus on why I'm an outstanding teacher and not just a theoretical answer. =================================================== ***Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.*** =================================================== Outstanding teachers possess a variety of wide-ranging skills in essential areas of education. They exhibit professionalism, flexibility, content mastery, availability, concern, and respect in order to ensure effectiveness in teaching. These attributes are essential to student achievement, and outstanding teachers constantly work to develop and improve these skills throughout their career. Professionalism hinges on consistency, punctuality, preparation, and cooperation. I am dedicated to demonstrating professionalism in all my interactions. My students count on my behavior and my classroom management methods to be consistent and fair. My professional conduct provides a safe and reliable environment for students, which encourages positive relationships and learning. A teacher with flexibility is able to adapt their methods to best serve students with varied learning styles. Flexibility also means recognizing when a particular activity is not working in the classroom, and being able to change on the spot to a more successful method. I had the perfect laboratory in which to test my flexibility when I taught English as a Foreign Language in China. I taught 15 classes of 55 students each the same content every week, and I was required to develop my own curriculum and materials. It became immediately evident when an activity was not working, and I was able to change my method for the next class and try again. I learned not to become too attached to a particular activity or idea, to be aware of the success of an activity, and to think quickly on my feet. The foundation of effective teaching in secondary education is content mastery. While teachers cannot be expected to know every minute detail about their subject area, it stands to reason that they must have a strong grounding in the content and a desire to learn more about it. I have been engaged in theatre arts since grammar school, and I have a theatrical family background. My studies in theatre are well-rounded, including all areas of acting, technical theatre, and directing; this has prepared me to teach and manage all aspects of student theatre. Students are not always able to convey their academic needs in the classroom. Teachers must make themselves available to their students through additional office hours or alternate forms of communication (such as email) so students will feel comfortable bringing up concerns or questions. When teaching summer school at Decatur Public Schools, I frequently held afternoon office hours to speak to students about their concerns or to provide them additional time to re-take tests. Ultimately, students respond best to teachers who demonstrate a genuine concern for them, academically and personally. Students are willing to work harder when they believe what they do is important, not only to them, but to others. My students are quick to point out that they know I care about their achievement and will do what I can to help them succeed. Students who have evaluated my classes have said that I show concern for them on an individual level. The most important trait a teacher demonstrates in the classroom is respect. By treating students fairly, listening to student input, and deliberately giving students responsibility for their own success, teachers show that they respect students as people with valid ideas, concerns and goals. I treat each of my students with a great deal of respect, which sets a good example of how others should be treated. When I treat my students with respect, they are far more likely to have confidence and purpose in their actions, and will work harder to succeed.