Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What makes a good teacher?

As a researcher at Center for Inspired Teaching, I have to read a lot about how other folks define 'quality' in teaching. These days, it seems to be in vogue to equate good teaching with the ability to 'add value' by raising test scores. I believe that good teaching is too complex to be measured by a single number--and when I asked 50 DCPS and DC charter school teachers what they thought, their answers illustrated that there are many equally worthwhile definitions.

'Organization' was the most frequently-cited characteristic of an effective teacher, and 'flexibility' was a close second. Those of us who have worked in the sometimes-chaotic places we call schools can certainly understand why these traits are a necessity. But beyond the ability to keep it together and go with the flow, teachers offered descriptions that are worth aspiring to meet. I'll share a few in the hopes that you find one that inspires you...

Knowledge; strong persona; talent for inspiring
Committed; knowledgeable; considerate
Knowledgeable; caring; creative
Tough; fair; warm
Listens; questions; discovers new ways to teach
Passionate; engaging; competent
Patience; understanding; consistency
Caring; responsible; courageous
Dedication; humility; flexibility
Must have patience; care about the student; and love to teach!

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