Guest post from a school student: what makes a good teacher?
I’m very honoured to have another brilliant guest post from a current school student on the topic ‘what makes a good teacher?
A good primary school teacher doesn’t have to be a genius. They don’t have to let you get away with anything (but that’s always a bonus). But if you are lucky enough to spend some time with a good teacher, you have discovered a treasure.
There are three simple things that a teacher should be. The first is laughter. Walking past a classroom of students and hearing laughter is rarer than hens teeth. Peek in the window and you will see twenty, thirty children and a teacher with grins on their faces, and laughter bubbling out of their mouths. Children will say to their parents at home that night “Guess what Mrs F said today”, and “I’m so glad I’m in her class”.
The second is imagination. One amazing teacher I had was teaching the class about information reports. ‘An information report is like a meat pie. The introduction and the conclusion are like the pastry at the top and the bottom, and the meat is like the information in the middle.’ ‘Mrs F’, pipped up one of the children, ‘why don’t you bring in some meat pies for us to eat. It would help us with our learning’ they said with a cheeky grin. ‘Alright,’ Mrs F replied. And she did. The next day, she brought in a big pack of meat pies, and she heated them up during our English lesson, and gave them to us. Brilliant teacher.
The third is respect. If you respect the children you are teaching, they will in turn respect you. If you talk down to them, they will glare. No need to spoon-feed them, let them work it out for themselves, if they look like idiots, so be it. A good teacher will respect their students enough to trust them, and if they betray that trust, then it is their fault, not the teacher’s.
Three simple things you will find in a good teacher. They are so easy, yet so hard to discover. These three qualities come easier if you are born with them, but don’t give up hope if you are not. The same qualities are found in a good principal, and a good high school or university teacher. If you can make a student laugh, if you have imagination, and if you respect a student, every student you teach will remember you forever as the best teacher they ever had.