Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by jessiiteach, Sep 20, 2011.
Sep 20, 2011
If you had to name one characteristic that is most important to be a good teacher, what would it be?
Flexibility comes to mind immediately as things are never the same two years in a row, but that is assuming said teacher has the intelligence needed to learn in the first place.
That's a good one!
Sep 21, 2011
I have never really thought about it but I would say, patient.
OK, since someone else took flexibility, I'll go with content knowledge.
(I was going to beg for permission to give both; they're my top two!)
Flexibility and content knowledge, absolutely. I'll also add respect (for every single person we come into contact with every single day).
The first two were spot on but add a sense of humor.
The other ones were great. I would say the ability of a teacher to truly decipher the REAL meaning of what students and parents are trying to communicate, not just what it sounds like at face value.
Those are both very important. I would add engagement - a good teacher is vested and engaged in the kids and her/his classroom. While in the classroom the teacher is "in the moment" with the kids, thinking about them and their needs over other considerations. This engagement motivates the teacher to work hard to create the optimal learning environment and activities which meet their needs. Engagement also means the teacher creates connections with the kids which helps him/her understand their needs.
Awe... You all took mine... sense of humor, flexibility
Patience with your class, the "red" tape for some of the students, the students, parents, staff & admin.
content knowledge, sense of humor and classroom management. ...
I think you have to love kids.
I agree. I would add compassion and understanding along with that, although many may feel those are included in loving the kids.
I had a K student in afterschool that was absolutely cute as a button, but would sometimes refuse to do work. He would just start crying when asked to read and, often, would simply ignore his name being called and walk off from the adults in charge. As cute as he was, I sometimes got frustrated with his refusal to work and ignoring adults when his name was called.
Then I saw him and his grandparents at the hotel one weekend when I was working. He recognized me immediately and was very friendly. When I spoke to him, he said "I'm not with my mommy anymore because she is using drugs." The grandparents looked at me very awkwardly and said "That's why he is with us for now."
My heart completely broke in two for this little boy. He is one of the most adorable little guys you'll ever see with big, puppy dog eyes. All he wants is to love his mommy and daddy with all his heart.
HOW in the WORLD someone can decide drugs are more important than that is simply beyond me.
As heartbreaking as that was, it reminded me that I often don't know what these kids are facing in their home life and their actions in school may just be a surface reflection of issues far more serious than they should ever have to face at such a young and tender age.
I've always though that passion is one of the top characteristics of a great teacher. On top of some that have already been mentioned (flexible, patience, humor, knowledge).
You can definitely tell the difference in a classroom that has a passionate teacher versus one that does not have a passionate teacher. The kids act different. In one class they are actively engaged and excited to be there, in the other class they may just be dragging themselves in the room, hating school.
1. A burning desire to make a difference with children.
2. Passion and Energy
a really great poker face.:lol:
Sep 22, 2011
STAMINA, mental moreso than physical. My first year teaching, I almost quit because I was mentally exhusted from trying to keep up with everything. This is now my fifth year and I can feel my mind getting stronger and able to better handle the 1,001 things being thrown at me from all directions.
Today for instance I have literally been on "go" since I woke up at 5:45 a.m. this morning. It's now 4:30 and I am STILL on go having to put in progress report grades which are stupidly due on Thursday night instead of Friday night
I was def going to say FLEXIBILITY even before I read all the responses!
These are all wonderful answers. I notice flexibility seems to be the most common trait.
Sep 23, 2011
From a student's perspective, I valued a compassionate and organized teacher.
Sep 24, 2011
What is equanimity and why is this one of the best characteristics for a teacher?
I'll ditto what others have said: flexibility, patience and compassion. If I had so choose just one I'd say flexibility.
Creative problem solving skills. (creativity doesn't hurt either .)
I agree that most important is loving children. But, I will break the rule and name some more!
sense of humor!
a calm spirit
willingness to give of oneself
The first thing that comes to mind is compassion! The second thing that came to mind was a desire to develop relationships with all your students.
My DH says good communication
Sep 25, 2011
It's too hard to think of just one. Here's my top three:
love of learning
Another trait I just thought of, but haven't seen listed yet, is empathy....understanding from the student's POV what it is like being faced with material or content you don't readily understand.
Studying for Praxis II tests in other certification areas has helped me with this. Science wasn't my strongest subject in school, but I needed certification in Middle School Science to make myself more marketable. I studied for months before I finally felt confident enough to take the test and (for one of the first times in my life), I experienced test anxiety.
I also just recently took the Praxis II for High School Math. Even though math IS my strongest subject, much of the content being taught in high school now was not taught until the college level when I was in school. I had to study much harder than expected for that test as well.
Both of these experiences have reminded me what it is like trying to learn material that may be very confusing at first to my students or may just not make sense to them when they see it.
So good teachers need to empathize with the student's ability level and be able to present the content on a level the students can understand.
Just knowing your content is not enough (although that is obviously the first step). I had a college professor that was brilliant and, in fact, had worked for NASA. The man could discuss mathematical formulas, equations and probabilities the way most people discuss current events. However, he was SO smart that he had a very difficult time bringing the content down to the level of those that didn't understand the material as easily as he did. In his mind, he WAS explaining it as simply as possible, but he was still several levels over most of our heads at the time.
I have another friend who is very good at mathematics and has taught at the HS and college level. He freely admits he would have the same problem as my previous professor if he were to try middle school math because the content is so simple to him, he would have a hard time with kids not understanding it right away and wouldn't be able to bring it down to their level.
Knowing your content is the first step. Understanding how it feels to not know the content is the next step. That will hopefully let you know how to present the material on a level the kids can understand.
Someone mentioned engagement. I have to second that and add commitment. Teaching all not just some.
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