I wrote this down a while ago when I heard a bunch of students complain how bad some of their teachers were. We were discussing how to tag teachers with a set of attributes. I came back home and drew a mind map. A Twitter exchange with a friend reminded me of this list. So I decided to post a bunch of Tweets almost at midnight.
Here they are, in no particular order. Some of the teachers who inspired me had many of these attributes. The greatest one was my grandfather. I had the privilege of watching him closely as I was growing up. He did not have a very high level of education but I have never seen any one with such unparalleled dedication. I don’t know whether they know it or not, but good teachers have a lot of influence on their students. In their tenure as a teacher (20-30 years or more) they probably have the potential to influence 20-50K students directly. According to Teachers without Borders, there nearly 60 million teachers in the world.
Attributes of a great teacher:
- Some times Entertaining
- Good story teller
- Has Knowledge of subject matter
- Conversation starter
- Inspires students
- Challenges students to think
- Can demystify hard subjects
- Innovates in teaching methods
- Life-long learner
- Has Infinite patience
- Not judgemental
- Understands student’s difficulties,
- Understands student’s learning styles
- Takes pride in students’ achievements
If I love this profession so much, why did I not take up teaching profession? I ask myself that question a lot of times. I don’t know the answer. I studied engineering and jumped into a job and never looked back. But the most fun part in all my jobs and all my startups was the opportunity to teach a bit.
Mar 3, 2014
I found Good vs. great teachers: how do you wish to be remembered? and it is worth a read. A small fragment from that post (please go and read it to get all the qualitative differences Grant Wiggins talks about):
how does one go from good to great? I think the difference is qualitative – The actions, behavior, and attitudes of great teachers differ considerably from those of good teachers; it’s not just a matter of degree. (That’s why I find almost all the well-known evaluation systems humdrum – they focus on mere goodness instead of being designed backward from greatness.)
Let me propose a set of distinctions – admittedly a bit glib – that may have value for sharpening our sense of what greatness is in teaching:
- Great teachers are in the talent-finding and talent-development business.
- Merely good teachers think they are mostly in the business of teaching stuff and helping students so that it gets learned.
- Great teachers are aiming for the future: are these students better able to succeed on their own after me and without me?
- Merely good teachers look mostly to the past: did they learn what I taught and did they do what I asked of them?
Sep 21, 2013
I am taking a course on Coursera on Foundations of Teaching for Learning. In Week 3 of the course, there is a fascinating discussion on What is a good school? What is a good teacher? What is a good student? The thought provoking part was a series of questions starting with “How do you know? Whom do you ask”. I thought one of the slides on “What is a good teacher” may be very relevant to this topic. If you are interested in teaching and learning, I highly recommend this course from Coursera.
July 16, 2013 Eight characteristics of 21st Century Teachers.
4th Sep 2011 And then, I found this amazing blog post on the Technical Skills Required of a 21st Century Educator via Teacher’s Learning Journal.
23rd March 2011 AOL Search Teacher’s Attributes
Some times your blog visitors and comments tell you more about the topic you write about. I am always curious about why people read certain entries and where they come from. One way to honor them and say I recognize you is to incorporate their insights and link to them. This is a way to say, I salute you. I am glad you came and made my post a bit richer. Whenever I have time, I would like to post these under the Updates section of my blog posts.