What makes a good teacher? Education is one of the most complicated tasks today. It requires a broad knowledge of subject matter, curriculum and standards; enthusiasm, caring attitude and love of learning; knowledge of discipline and classroom management techniques; and a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people. With all these qualities required, it is not surprising that it is difficult to find good teachers.
Here are some characteristics of great teachers
Great teachers have high expectations of all students. They expect all students to be able and succeed in their classrooms, and they do not drop out of underperformers.
Great teachers have clear, written goals. Effective teachers have lesson plans that give students a clear idea of what they will learn, homework and grading policy. Homework has learning objectives and gives students ample opportunity to practice new skills. The teacher is consistent in the assessment and returns the work in a timely manner.
Great teachers are prepared and organized. They are in their classrooms early and ready to teach. They present the lessons in a clear and structured manner. Their classrooms are organized to minimize distractions.
Good teachers involve students and encourage them to examine problems in a variety of ways. Effective teachers use facts as a starting point, not an end point they ask « why » questions, examine all sides and encourage students to predict what will happen next. They frequently ask questions to ensure that students follow the movement. They try to involve the whole class and they do not allow a few students to dominate the class. They keep students motivated through varied and lively approaches.
Good teachers build strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as people. Good teachers are warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. Teachers with these qualities are known to stay after school and be available to students and parents who need them. They participate in school-wide committees and activities and demonstrate a commitment to the school.
Great teachers are masters of their subject. They demonstrate expertise in the subjects they teach and spend time acquiring new knowledge in their field. They present the material enthusiastically and inspire their students to learn on their own.
Good teachers communicate frequently with parents. They reach parents through frequent conferences and written reports at home. They do not hesitate to use the telephone to call a parent if they are concerned about a student.
What No Child Left Behind means for teacher quality
The role of the teacher became an even more important factor in education with the adoption of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.
By law, primary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and pass a rigorous examination in core subjects. Middle and secondary school teachers must demonstrate their competence in the subject they teach by passing an examination or completing a major, a higher education diploma or comparable courses. These requirements already apply to all new employees.
Schools are required to inform parents of the qualifications of all teachers, and they must inform parents if their child is taught for more than four weeks by a teacher who is not highly qualified. Schools that do not comply with the law risk losing federal funding.
Although the law requires states to have highly qualified teachers in each basic classroom by the end of the 2005-2006 school year, no state has met this deadline.
The U.S. Department of Education then required states to show how they intended to meet this requirement. Most states have convinced the government that they are making serious efforts, but a few have been told to develop new plans.