Teaching is a skill and an art. Some of it can be taught, some can only be learned by experience.
There’s no hard and fast definition of what makes a good teacher and it can never be predicted with 100% accuracy who’s going to excel in the classrooms of Chicago or anywhere. Still, many good teachers do tend to share certain common qualities, possessing them as innate talents while others develop them only after some time in the classroom. There are certain characteristics of all successful teachers.
High Expectations for Students
Expectations are often self-fulfilling prophecies. These teachers who push for the best realize most students in Chicago education programs will rise to meet high expectations if properly motivated. However, if the bar is set a few notches lower, they’ll tend to meet that lowered expectation, instead. Great teachers have great expectations of their students and make it clear they won’t accept less. They also communicate faith that each student can make it happen for themselves.
Creative Teaching Methods
Thinking outside the box is business as usual for teachers who keep in touch with their creative instincts while managing a lesson plan and classroom. Their instinct is to make learning stimulating and memorable, and they’re able to follow through. They’re fearless in trying new ways that work — and discarding old ones that didn’t.
Perception and Sensitivity
These teachers with human insight realize they’re teaching human beings, not only “pupils.” They step outside their own circle of consciousness to consider the needs and individual qualities of each student. This can be a challenge with today’s class sizes. However, these teachers have a set of interpersonal tools that help them establish trust and personal rapport with students.
Instead of clock-watching or marking time until the final bell, successful teachers refresh their own intellectual curiosity by continuing to learn. They have an active life full of new experiences and they’re curious about their student’s experiences, as well. The mark of a good teacher, as it’s often said, is one who can learn from their students. An evolving teacher maintains personal values and principles, yet they continue to evolve in ways that enrich them — because they know it enriches their teaching, too.
And an effective teacher’s not reluctant to admit, even in the classroom, that to err is human. It’s a sign of maturity, and often a source of respect from students, when a teacher can admit an error in the classroom, enjoy a laugh or two at their own expense or show actual human emotion (gasp) and maybe even a few quirks. You’re not there just to deliver curriculum, you are there to share knowledge, which means sharing some of yourself, too.