I recently stumbled upon a video titled, “What Makes Great Teachers” and I was reminded of the many conversations I have had with our school Vice-Principal, Sundeep Chohan (@skc99) about teachers and what makes them effective. I’ve always been passionate about technology and how best to bring technology and pedagogy together into something special – something transformative.
But what I have always believed is that teacher quality is the single most important factor when it comes to student learning, and that no amount of technology integration can by itself make a teacher great.
So what makes a teacher great? The first thing that comes to mind is the care teachers show for children, and the relationships they work hard to establish and maintain. Great teachers know their students. Great teachers show their genuine care for students in everything they do and say.
Great teachers also know their stuff! They continually assess learning so that both they and their students know exactly where they are and where they need to go. They focus more on skill and strategy development rather than content. They plan engaging and student-centred learning experiences that address the wide range of learning needs we find in classrooms today. And yes…they strategically incorporate technology into these learning experiences.
Finally, great teachers don’t view themselves as great because if they were to have this mind-set, they might be convinced that they had “made it” and that further professional development was not required. No…great teachers are great learners who continually self-assess, ask questions, invite feedback and think critically about decisions they make in the classroom. They view their development as a continuum – a path – that is worth traveling because in the end, they know their students will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
What do you think makes a teacher great?
I totally agree with the last paragraph particularly. After nearly 18 years working in PLD for teachers, I find the very best teachers appear on the surface to be the least confident. That’s because they are continually questioning themselves and their practice and striving to improve even more. The ones who worry me are the ones who are supremely confident that they have ‘all the ducks in a row’ and know it all. Great teachers are curious, creative, caring, thoughtful, questioning, connected with their students, always wanting to try something new and not afraid to not succeed the first time and above all lifelong learners.