There are many characteristics, techniques, etc. that make for a successful
teacher. These may be as varied as the teachers themselves. However, there
are certain time-tested attributes, characteristics, and practices which
contribute immensely to teacher success. The following list contains items
that students have used to describe their best teachers.
Students can feel the excitement
Students easily detect the teacher's love for job and subject
Teacher knows the subject
Teacher plans and prepares lessons daily
Always arrives on time
Begins and ends class on time
Expects and encourages students to arrive on time
Support and concern for students
Lets students know that he/she cares about their success
Takes time with students
Allows for creativity
Is friendly and courteous
Is supportive and encouraging
Is smiling, caring, and loving
Does not miss class
Is consistent in attitude and dealings with students
Sets a good pace and provides for a change of pace
Avoids engaging students in "busy work"
Use of text
Is not a slave to the text
Uses text as a road map
Keeps within 1-2 days of the scheduled course outline
Field trips and other activities
Applies student experiences to classwork
Does not always teach from a sitting or leaning position
Interpersonal relationships with students
Does not allow students to call him/her by first name
Does not try to win a popularity contest
Maintains a healthy teacher-student relationship
Respects students (remember that sometimes what you think is healthy,
fun joking with students may be interpreted by them as disapproval and
Does not allow one or two students to monopolize or dominate the class
Keeps accurate records of
Provide for activity changes -- perhaps something not on the lesson
plan; for example, scrabble, hangman, pictionary.
Be somewhat unpredictable -- Students will not know what comes next.
Keep students in some suspense.
Variety -- In teaching, variety provides for renewed interest in the
subject matter. Use variety in how you have students work together. Do
not always pair the same ones together. Provide for a variety of learning
activities. Some suggestions are:
Questioning and quizzes
Reports and talks
General chalkboard use
Charts and maps
Overhead transparency projections
LCD projections using PowerPoint
Videotaping class presentations or activities
Combined activities with another class
Instant Involvement -- Create a variety of instant involvement techniques
that can be used to capture students attention for what will be presented.
Give eye-to-eye contact.
Change teaching styleto give variety.
Pace -- A change of pace is refreshing and helps students re-enter
the learning process.
Change of setting -- At appropriate times it is stimulating and interesting
to meet in a different location or setting for a specific learning task.
By Julie Madsen
I missed the day where a student panel from the ELC was asked some questions
about what makes a good teacher and what a good teacher should do in some
classroom situations. I contacted three students at the ELC and interviewed
them to find out their opinions. The three students I interviewed were
Rika from Japan, Humberto from Peru and Harike from Korea.
The first question I asked was who their favorite teacher was and why.
They all seemed to be pleased with all of their teachers, but one of their
favorites was David C. They like him because of the comfortable atmosphere
he creates in his classroom. He apparently doesn't rush the students, even
when there is a push for time (i.e., the bell is about to ring and he hasn't
done everything he wanted to). It was interesting that the students would
tune in to the fact that he had more to say and do but was sensitive to
the students' needs.
They also commented on classroom rapport. They like teachers that are
patient and kind. They also like it when humor is used in teaching. They
felt relaxed when their teacher would tell them funny things about American
culture. Some of their teachers have taught them jokes in English, which
they really enjoyed learning. It seems to make them feel like they are
more a part of the culture and "in" on the humor going on around
Some other things they feel are important in the classroom environment
are a smile, the use of loud, clear speech, clear explanations, fun activities,
etc. They also appreciate good visual aides that keep their attention.
One of the most important things they think a teacher should keep in mind
is a sensitivity to students' mistakes. They feel good when a teacher takes
time to help students overcome their mistakes through patient, clear instruction.
Some of the things that are challenges to them include the following:
teachers speaking too quickly, especially at the end of class when
class time is running out
getting bored when a teacher is answering other students' questions
textbooks that are difficult to understand
other students talking out of turn
teachers not planning well and having to go overtime (not releasing
the class at the bell).
Interestingly enough, the students also indicated that the teacher wasn't
the only person that should work on problems. The students should share
in the responsibility. In conclusion here are some of the other words used
in describing a good teacher: