Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Attributes of Great Teachers?

A few nights ago, I joined a conversation that was in progress when someone asked, "What do great teachers do?"

I responded with this: Read, Create, Love, Adapt, Grow, Care, Learn, Share, Inspire, Listen, Lead and Follow

Read - A great way to start an intellectual conversation with a kid. Read professional journals and blogs and keep up with the changing landscape of education.

Create - If you want kids to do it, you will want to model it. Create great things that inspire kids to create. If you have to, create weird looking things that will make kids feel safe to create things that aren't perfect. Create lessons that have kids making exciting products.

Love - Yep, I said it. They need it, we have it.

Adapt - Brave new world...brave new teachers. Literally, no one ever learned anything by doing things the same old way. You don't learn, most kids won't learn.

Grow- It is a new world, you will adapt because you have to- which will cause growth. Growing is good!

Care- Teaching is not easy...we all know that. Sometimes I feel like I have given it all. But there is a deep reserve in the teacher's heart. Show you care.

Learn - Yep, the kids are not the only people who will learn in that classroom. The best teachers always learn from their students.

Share - Find something that works? Share it. Find something that doesn't work? Share that too. Maybe someone would have an idea that would help you turn failure to success...or maybe someone will learn from your misstep (which would make it a success!)

Listen - To steal a phrase from a Dr. Phil parody, "It's not about you." Sometimes, your job is just to listen. Ever wonder why something you did worked or didn't work in your classroom? Ask a kid and listen to the answer.

Lead - As I always say, "I was a constructivist before being constructivist was cool." I love the constructivist philosophy...the real one. The original framers suggested a scaffold was laid down before the constructivist activity. No, you don't teach the kids every nuance of the give then enough to be successful. It's very name means that learners construct new meaning from things they already know. Sometimes, you have to lead the learning, thoughts, discussions, to give base information.

Follow - Now that the leading part is out of the way, we need to follow. Watch what the kids are allowed to create when we get out of their way.

Respect - We take the kids where they's our job. It's not their job to come to where we are. It's our job to travel on the same path with a different starting place. We can't change what happened before we got them in our class, but we can respect where they came from and be understanding. Notice I said understanding and not patronizing or excusing.

Inspire - The reading, creating, loving, adapting, growing, caring, learning, sharing, listening, leading, following, and respectful teacher will surely inspire the best from kids (and ourselves).

What did I leave off???? Please add some words!


Karlana said...

Flexible - We have to be able to bend, move and change with the students. If we didn't, they'd be left in the dust!

Kim Caise said...

Karlana took my word! That was the only thing that I could think that needed to be added to the list. Also, I would consider adding organization. Lesson plans, meetings, materials, etc all need to be organized in some fashion although everyone's organization is not to the same standards as others. I was thinking compassion to but care and love take care of that aspect as well as meeting criteria for being empathetic. What about trustworthy? Staff, parents, students especially, all need to feel that they can trust your word, trust you will do what is best for their child, campus, classroom, program, etc. What do you think?

Kim Caise

Kobus van Wyk said...

Innovative - a teacher has to keep up with the times and teach in a way that is in tune with the learners, eg class blogs, etc.

Kelly Christopherson said...

With what you have listed, adding just splits things more. You have a done a great job of capturing the essence of what we need to do to in teaching. Thanks for this reminder!

SherryC said...

Support - We need to be supportive of one another. This is a tough profession and the rewards are not always seen. We have to really be there for one another!

Monarch's Librarian Blog said...

Wow. I need to print this and tack it to my wall.

Anonymous said...

Too many of my students don't know what this is because they've never been introduced to it.

Great list of attributes. Now ... how do we 'teach' them to new teachers?