“Hey I don’t care if you do the work, or whether you pass or not…I get paid regardless”.
Readers, we’ve all been there with teachers. We’ve had good ones, bad ones, and great ones. We’ve had ones that played the role of psychiatrist, therapist, an uncle/aunt figure, and even some like a second mother or father. We’ve even had ones that would repeat the aforementioned phrase or one that’s eerily close. Well going off my experiences in my school career, here’s to me what makes a model educator.
Determination and dedication
To make a small connection here, if you’re an athlete with God-given ability, you don’t have to work as hard to improve right? What if you don’t have that ability? Do you push harder and try to hone your skills? Or do you just stay complacent? To be an elite educator requires this tenfold. Whatever you may not excel at whether it’s knowledge of your subject, discipline in the classroom, or any range of things you’d like to improve upon, it’s always important to push yourself close to perfection for these things.
Thirst for knowledge
Always wanting to learn more and discover things that’ll be nothing but helpful to your craft is definitely a plus; especially when dealing with the education of our children.
Being on time
This goes for any job, meeting, date, etc. Being early is just a beneficial practice period. Think about it, you may have to do some last-minute lesson planning adjustments or review some strategies. Bottom line, getting yourself mentally ready for the day is always a plus. If you’re arriving late, what type of message does that send? Hmmmm? Sometimes we DO have those mornings when we are thrown the proverbial curve ball en route to work (car issues, excessive traffic, etc). Understandably, those things are prone to happen. However, if you are always late reporting to work, this nullifies your effectiveness. In addition to that, it also sets a bad example.
First one in last one out
Arriving early is one thing, but after a long day of classroom management, lesson planning, teaching, and meetings, do you still have energy to stay after hours to correct papers or plan lessons? Imagine a day where your school day starts with you arriving at 6:30am and stay until you are the only one left with the janitors.
Having balance in the classroom
You are an educator, but as mentioned earlier you have to wear many different hats. You can’t demand respect off the get go (although it would be an educator’s dream to have all angels). It’s important to gain relationships with the children first, then it [becomes] much easier to discipline them. As a result, your words aren’t constantly going in one ear and out the other.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention while it’s great to teach them on the chalkboard, it’s also vital to teach them off the chalkboard. You know, about life in general.
Challenging intellect and making curriculum engaging
This is similar to being in a relationship or dating. If one is not engaged by what he/she is doing, it soon becomes monotonous and the person tunes out. The same goes for a classroom. Using unconventional ways of learning is always beneficial to running an effective classroom. Breaking the class into teams for a trivia game (especially if it’s review for an upcoming test), playing a game of jeopardy, having a student go over a lesson, or drawing connections to daily life by showing movies and clips pertaining to your lesson. All of these strategies are very effective in keeping a class bought in to what you’re doing. A little dry humor and sarcasm (within reason) also keeps the lesson engaging and non-monotonous.
Loving what you do
Being genuinely caring about what you do in any field is a must. Educating our youth is ten-fold simply because you’re dealing with so many personalities it becomes overwhelming at times. And sometimes one can lose that passion. Having that genuine love of what you do shows. Students pick up on this as well, and it can result in very good relationships with them.
Side note: I went to a school that was combined middle and high school and the teacher I had for 7th grade history came to me in my senior year and asked to look at my report card. To be honest, it wasn’t exactly a report card you’d want your folks to see. He then looks at it and says to me, “Brother, you gotta step it up man. You got just this year”. The fact that he still remembered me enough six years later to ask to see my report card left quite the impression on me as I have never forgotten that.
Knowledge of content
This ties in with having a thirst for knowledge. The more you’d want to know pertaining to your subject area the better it is for you. There’s almost nothing worse than ‘winging’ a subject while teaching it. No evidence of previous reading, planning, or note taking is glaring. And you’ll be surprised how students can and will pick up on the fact that you’re lacking the ability to teach said subject because you can’t. I once had a student tell me he felt like the teacher was learning the lesson right along with him. Ouch!
OM family what other qualities do you think make a good educator? Have you had a teacher that left an impression whether good or bad? Are you an educator yourself? Do tell.
Have a good one.
peace and as always God bless