What makes a good teacher

Education, whether we like it or not, is a major part of our developmental years. You spend 13 years at school and by the time you graduate, it comprises the vast majority of your life up to that point, including most of what you remember. What you remember are your peers, your classes, and of course, you remember your teachers.   

Teachers mould your years of schooling. Each class is different simply because of who is in front, teaching it.  

During our schooling we meet dozens of teachers, some who impact us profoundly and some who we forget within months. From life-changing interactions to annoying substitute teachers, no matter what, they play a really important part in our childhood and teenage years. 

When you think of teachers, you usually think of the best ones. The ones who taught you the most, helped you come out of your shell, the ones who supported you. Those qualities are integral to the making of good teacher. But what else? What else contributes to this?  

A good teacher collects and applies student feedback. Comments that are taken into consideration play a massive part in making school tolerable, or even enjoyable, for pupils. A simple survey at the beginning of the school year not only allows teachers an insight into their students’ learning styles but also has the potential to make students feel heard. 

A good teacher includes everyone in in-class discussion, and provides accessible avenues for conversation to continue outside of class. They make a palpable effort to make sure everyone understands the material. This, however, does not mean picking on students. Instead, it means adapting some lessons to suit all types of learners, making sure that everyone is comfortable in their learning environment while still absorbing information. 

A good teacher knows how to lighten the mood with a good joke. A good sense of humour is very beneficial in an educator role, as it instantly brings the atmosphere of a classroom to life. There is of course still a time and place for this, yet a good “vibe” in a classroom is incredibly important.  

A good teacher acknowledges that not all work is engaging, and not everybody wants to be there. School is mandatory and so are some classes, but in high school – you just have to learn to deal. Yet, when teachers acknowledge this but still ensure that material is taught, the lesson feels much less daunting. A good teacher takes the time to make engaging activities, in light of this fact.  

A good teacher knows when to enforce rules yet is still kind and understanding when need be. Having a sense of authority while also being a kind figure in the life of students is the perfect balance for a teacher. 

At William Clarke, we are extremely fortunate to have great teachers who reinforce our learning yet still create a welcoming and warm community. A privilege we’re sure many of us feel. 

To any teachers reading: thank you! We wouldn’t be here without you!