Monday, March 8, 2010

Thoughts on Building a Better Teacher

Follow up to March 7 posting:

I think when it comes to learning a subject like algebra, a teacher can put in 20 hours of work, and be 20 hours more prepared- however, for communicating information or motivating students --this is an intangible skill.

The best way for teachers to work on these skills --- watch other teachers or seminar presenters in action. Not to emulate other teachers, but to add to the teachers' repertoire. Most important thing to me -- never try to be anyone else but yourself, and lean on your own strengths. The great comics borrow material from each other, but they are true to their own gifts.

My measure of a great teacher -- if s/he wakes up every morning looking forward to class and believes that it is a privilege to inspire young minds -- if it's not a job, but a passion, that's the teacher I want in my k-5 class (and I had few or none!). To me, teaching is a job only when I am under the weather or in a bad mood --other than that, it's a total joy. And a class can lift me out of any mood!

When I was in 9th grade, we had an amazing social studies teacher who was the victim of the budget cuts. He went on to succeed in the private sector, but likely would've been the greatest 30-year teacher around. Think of all of the lives he could've positively impacted. State legislatures nationwide needs to be dream builders, not bottom line slashers.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a community college teacher, and I'm not claiming to be great. One of the nicer comments that I get from students, however, who sometimes like the subject (History) I teach ad sometimes don't, is, "At least you are enthusiastic." If you like what you do, students know it. This enthusiasm often sticks with them more than the specific material in the curriculum.

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