Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 1/Student Soapbox

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Foundations Chapter 1 Student Soap Box

A 2004 research study investigated beliefs about good teachers and good teaching. The researchers asked 2nd graders, pre-service teachers (education majors), and in-service teachers (teachers already teaching in schools) to select the characteristics they believed best described good teachers. "Caring" was the most selected response for all three groups. In general, the respondents thought good teachers were caring, patient, not boring, polite, and organized. The 2nd graders' responses were not that different from those of the pre-service teachers suggesting that students form their ideas about good teachers very early in their academic careers. The researchers used this information to suggest that teacher education programs may have to work very hard to change students' beliefs about good teachers (Murphy, Delli & Edwards, 2004).

What do you believe are the most important characteristics of a good teacher?

What should teacher education programs do to help pre-service teachers be open to new conceptions of good teaching?


Add your response below. Extra credit will be awarded to multimedia responses.

= What makes a good teacher?[edit]

A teacher has to possess so many qualities that it is hard to say which one is the best. I believe that patience should be a main quality of a good teacher. I believe that when a student sees that a teacher has patience with him/her that student takes the time to a better student. A teacher has to be so many things to a student (teacher, friend, mother-figure,etc.)I think that it is important for teachers to keep abreast of the changing educational techniques.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 01:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe that good teacher has many characteristics. I would agree with the students on the survey that a teacher must be caring, organized, patient, not boring, etc. These are probably the answers I would have selevted when I was in grade school. I truly believe that all children was to be loved. I think a teacher can do that through structure, organization, and listening. Many times just listening to students and understanding their feelings makes a world of difference to them. Once stepping into a classroom I believe the biggest statement is made with how well a teacher is organized and prepared for the day. Students always know...especially in the higher grades whether a teacher knows what they are talking about. I believe it is important for teachers, even if they are not familiar with the information being presented, to have prepared well enough to have a good understanding of the material to come across confident. Sston008 (talk) 19:49, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Caring is essential, but being able to converse and interact with your students– that is the key. I'd much more likely be incline to lean toward that being the single most important aspect of teaching– good communication. To understand what your students are getting at and interact accordingly, whether it's to expand/explore upon ideas they present in class or dealing with a miscellaneous grievance, is invaluable. Hsmit022 (talk) 17:38, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe that a teacher must possess a variety of qualities that are recognizable by both her students and her peers. While I agree with those mentioned by the 2nd graders, there are several others that I feel are essential building blocks to becoming a "good" teacher. Respect your students and your peers and they inturn will do the same. Be tolerant of all learners regardless of their abilities. They, too, have a right to learn. Enter your classroom with confidence in your students, yourself, and your teaching. Be optimistic...those practice test scores can only get better. Besides, we all have a bad day every once and awhile. Flexibility is a must. You never know when the power will go off and its 100 degrees, Susie just puked on her SOL answer sheet, and Timmy didn't mean to bring those bullets in his backpack. Roll with the punches. Lastly, be enthusiastic about teaching. Remember, enthusiasm is contageous...what a great thing to spread! Is there a way to adequately prepare a new teacher for the classroom? I think a degree is a great academic accomplishment. To me, the best preparation you can get is in the trenches. Until there's a class that can prepare you for the reality of teaching, just sign me up for a another tour of duty in the classroom. Acrow005 (talk) 01:11, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Teachers need many different qualities to be able to handle a classroom. One important characteristic I believe is being able to relate to the students. Being able to understand your students is key in managing a classroom effectively. I also think that being respectful is very important. This means using words or actions that you approve of others using toward you. If you show respect with students they will mirror it back to you. I remember one teacher I had in elementary school that I loved because she was very enthusiastic about everything she taught. No matter what it was, I remember feeling excited about it. I think that is also a great way to get students engaged in the material. Being able to show encouragement as well as having the ability to motivate your students is also a good quality to have as a teacher. Teachers are with students a lot and help to mold what they will become. Teachers need to prepare students with good life skills that will ready them for the real world. Aferg006 (talk) 22:49, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe a good teacher possess a variety of effective qualities. I believe a teacher needs to possess patience and confidence. I think if a teacher is confident then his or her confidence will shine through to his or her students. I feel if a child knows the teacher believes in them then they will overall possibly perform better in the classroom. I do agree that teachers must "care" for their students more than just the grades aaspect of caring. Teachers are not only there to educate they are there to enstill values in their students as well. Educators can only hope they enstill values and education into their students. I hope as a future teacher I can be successful being a "caring" teacher and educate my students wth not just information but also with life skills and values. Lwill031 (talk) 15:51, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

A "good teacher" is made up of many different qualities. I believe that these qualities include all of the ones chosen from the survey mentioned, but also include: encouragement, knowledge, and confidence (in them self as a teacher and in the students). A good teacher not only teaches his or her students what is on the lesson plan, but also life skills. Many students rely on their teachers as the source for things such as learning about respect, relationship skills, and confidence. Teacher education should focus on learning not only what can be expected but also how to deal with the "worst-case-scenario". As teachers, we will encounter many things everyday that we didn't learn about in school. We must learn how to improvise and be successful. Sbutl016 (talk) 22:16, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

I believe that good teachers possess many different characteristics. I think one of the most important things for a teacher to demonstrate to the students is encouragement and belief in success. When children (of all ages) feel as though the teacher truly believes that they are capable of succeeding, they begin to show confidence in themselves. I also agree that teachers must "care" about their students' overall well being. A good teacher does not view the job as a means to instruct the student and fill them with knowledge that ends in the classroom. I believe that a good teacher teaches the children about life in general through words and actions. These things include respect, generosity, self-confidence, gratitude, etc. A child should leave a classroom a year older, a year wiser, a year more knowledgeable and a year more successful. If a teacher has done a good job then the student will leave the class with a greater perspective on life and ready to face the next year and the world outside the classroom. Khedl002 (talk) 00:56, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

There are certain characteristics that I believe are the most important characteristics of a good teacher. I would have to agree with the 2nd graders, pre-service teachers and in-service teachers that “caring” is one of the most important. To be a good teacher you must truly care about each and every one of your students and their individual lives. I also think good teachers must be driven and motivated to make a difference in their students’ lives. I can remember specific teachers during my elementary and middle school years that made such a great impact on my life that I will never forget them. Good teachers must also be patient, kind but firm, focused, organized, and respectful. To help pre-service teachers be open to new conceptions of good teaching, aspects of integrating technology into the classroom should be taught. Pre-service teachers should also be aware of the cultural differences of students and be able to treat each student equally. They should also learn effective ways to involve their future students in relevant and meaningful classroom activities that help students learn. It is effective if teachers should learn the “constructivist” approach because it places the teacher in the role of helping students organize and manage information. Afett001 (talk) 15:03, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I also agree with the results. If you don't care then want does it matter. You must "care" in order to succeed at any profession, but especially in education. When your students know that you care for them then they develop an attitude that makes them excel or at least try in their studies. I also believe that patience is another important characteristic that an educator must possess. You cannot let every little incident become bigger than it is. I believe that you have to ignore or deal with it and not go off the roof. And last but not least you must respect your students so they will respect you in return. (Most of them anyway). Respect usually builds a strong bond between educators and students that allow a life time of friendship. I believe that pre-service teachers should be strongly advised on issues that they will deal with in the classroom. I don't think that new educators realize the behavior problems happening in today's schools or the embarrassing questions that children ask! Hcomb003 (talk) 17:51, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

My opinions as to what makes a good teacher are not far from those already stated. I think a “caring” nature does have to come first. I think understanding the issues is important. You need to be vested in what you do in order to be truly successful at it. Teaching is not something you should just go into because you think it would be an “ok” profession. Teachers have the ability to shape the minds and hearts of the next generation. They have huge impacts on students and families. They are counselors by nature and have to fight battles of a failing system. It is true…going into teaching is a passionate decision. The salary alone is not anything worthwhile. It is difficult to live on a $40,000/year salary and purchase the materials it takes to manage a classroom the way you want to manage it. I do not even know how I will do it myself. However, I chose to pursue a career in this field for many reasons. Reasons I think everyone should think about. There are many failures in our country. Many! I believe the biggest one is how we teach our children. They grow up in families as diverse as our country itself. They are themselves a diverse population. They go to school hungry on Monday mornings because they are not fed enough on the weekends. They see divorce. They see crime. They see all the things adults see and are often overlooked and misunderstood. They go to schools that bore them all day and they get lost in a failing system. I am not just talking about at-risk kids. I am talking about kids who are gifted. Kids who come from all races. All socio-economic levels. We have spent so much time focusing on what else to do in our country and no time focusing on reform for our schools. In fact, they are getting worse. They appear to be meeting “standards”, but what are kids really retaining? Therefore, I felt a calling. One that must CARE about these issues. One that must feel a sense of responsibility to change or to work the system. I think all of these issues start with teachers. We cannot count on school districts, states, or even the federal government to solve the problems. (Not now at least) It is the teachers that work tirelessly to make differences in students’ lives. To send them forward with not only what they learn, but also how they learn. How they will explore and learn for the rest of their lives. To give them a zest for life. To foster their natural curiosities. To nurture their development at all levels. A generation that understands knowledge will have great power. They will pursue answers and perhaps have feasible solutions. You have to care. You just have to.
As far as the second prompt to this student soapbox, many things about education courses should be taken in to account. Education majors need to understand the issues, the politics. They need to know their curriculum. They need to understand and develop, while in school, practice assessments. Assessments are so important. They need to practice developing rubrics. They need instructional methods that are hands-on, engaging ideas. They need to keep up with the latest technology and learn how to effectively incorporate it into their curriculum. They need to understand how to maintain a more integrated style of teaching. They need to understand fine arts and logic. Students learn differently and express themselves differently. They should take introductory counseling courses, as to understand how to provide appropriate feedback, as well as handling sensitive situations. The list could go on… Abitt002 (talk) 17:27, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I think there are many important characteristics that make a good teacher. I do agree with the survey results regarding that caring is an important characteristic that good teachers must have. If good teachers do not care about the quality that they teach, then the material and methods in which they teach will not be very good. Also, if good teachers do not care about their students then they are less likely to put forth effort to push students to their fullest potentials, and encourage them to be their best. In addition, I feel that another important characteristic that good teachers must have is patience. Many teachers do not understand that depending on the grade level that they are teaching, some students will test a teacher's patience merely for fun at times. Therefore, a teacher's patience will greatly affect the relationship between student and teacher and the environment in the classroom as well. I also feel that knowledge is an essential characteristic of good teachers. If teachers are knowledgeable and open to diverse students, then they are more likely to be patient in the classroom and be open to different learning styles as well. I feel that attitude is also an important characteristic of good teachers. The attitude of a good teacher needs to be warm, welcoming, pleasant, and non judgmental. That way the student feels comfortable coming to the teacher, therefore enhancing the student teacher relationship as well. I feel that these characteristics are just a few among many that are characteristic of good teachers. In regards to helping prepare pre-service teachers for the classroom, they should be aware of the cultural and linguistic diversity among students. Some students may not have English as their native tongue, and therefore the teacher needs to know what to expect from that student and the reason they many not be doing well in reading or writing. In addition, depending on the culture some students may act differently in the classroom because of their cultural rules. I feel that pre-service teachers should definitely be taught on how to integrate technology into the classroom. I feel this is essential since most of the students today have grown up surrounded by technology, and will continue to be surrounded by it throughout their academic careers. I also feel that pre-service teachers need to be taught alternative methods to teaching from traditional methods of teaching. I feel that all of these steps will help to benefit pre-service teachers as they go into teaching! Rburt005 (talk) 23:22, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

There are many qualities to define a good teacher, here is to name a few ... Good teachers listen to their students, during and after class. They learn students names so that students feel special, like someone cares about them. Good teachers go above and beyond the "call of duty" to make learning exciting. They are always coming up with new ways to teach the material so students will become involved. Good teachers do not just teach the SOLs, yet take the SOLs a step further. And, good teachers are patient with their students, helping them learn the material, even if they have to explain it more than once. In order to become a good teacher, you do not just need to ace all of the teaching classes in college. That gives you a good GPA (which, yes, is very important to me!) But, half the things you learn about in these classes will not make any sense until you are actually teaching. So, teachers cannot be good teachers without some experience in an actual classroom, as well as the initiative to make themselves what students will look at and say, yes (s)he was a good teacher. Hcogg001 (talk) 00:41, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

There are many factors that make a good teacher. I would have to say the one thing on the top of my list would be: positive role model. I believe that being a positive role model can have a lasting impact on a child. Most people have at least one teacher who influenced them in some way. I believe that for that to occur, at least one teacher was a good role model in that persons life.Mlipl001 (talk) 04:01, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

What makes a teacher "good" is such a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" type question. Yes, to me caring is very important, but, I could see in a high school or older classroom where one could impart knowledge without being overly "caring". Also, to me, caring in a younger classroom could be construed as "nurtuing". Being organized is very important and also having good communication skills. It's not enough to have the knowledge, you have to be able to communicate it in a way that students will understand! Finally, I believe a "good" teacher is open minded to new techonologies available in the classroom and new methods of teaching and they examine these ideas very closely before committing to them. Just because something is "new" doesn't make it better. Conversely, just because you've done it the same way for many years and it's worked doesn't mean it can't be done better. Sciaston (talk) 18:32, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

What makes a good teacher is someone who is patient and knows how to approach his or her students the right way and at the correct time. Teaching is such a unique trade to do in a life time. As a past business manager I think that teaching requires the same simmering experience it takes to become a good manager. Yes basic qualities of a teacher is to be caring a patient, but I think that teachers need to be able to learn quickly how to get to know and recognize each and every students weaknesses and strengths so that he or she can help them in the best way possible during the time of that class. Good teachers poses other good qualities such as; time management, creativity, classroom management, organization, the ability to think outside the box, the ability to relate to the age in which his or her students is in, the ability to project equality and the ability to command respect and attention from students. I think that when people decide to become a teacher they should posses the basic qualities. With time these other qualities should be mastered in order to fully fulfill the potential on what it really means to become a “good teacher”. Teacher programs should include classes that can help develop the characteristics mentioned above as much as possible. Allot of those characteristics can only be acquired with time but at least do as much as possible so that the person studying to become a teacher can start to explore the many sides of what it is to become a good teacher. Bpenn005 (talk) 11:37, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

A good teacher is able to read his or her students. They know what to do to provoke learning and understanding and are able to recognize the potentials of all students. They need to be patient, kind, and understanding. They should also be very creative because at times you must teach in creative ways to ensure that all students are learning and understanding. I also think that one of the most important things for good teachers to recognize, especially in today's society, is that they must keep up with technology. Our ever-changing modern society puts a lot of demands on teachers to keep up. To produce successful students, they must also be proficient with technologies. A good teacher must also be nurturing, organized, empathetic, and have extremely good communication skills. Alucy001 (talk) 16:37, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Teaching is perhaps one of the most subjective professions to define, because it is given many characteristics by various perspectives. Some people may state that a teacher has to be caring while others may argue that a teacher must be firm. It mostly depends on the person’s own personal experiences of their teachers and how they view education. Personally, I believe that the one characteristic that every teacher should have is to have the ability and capacity to care about their students. Children are in the classroom to learn, however, they are still people with feelings. I believe that many teachers do not recognize the presence they have in their students’ lives. My mom once said that children spend more time with their teachers than they do with their actual parents. She said this when I was in elementary school myself, so I did not quite understand what she meant by that. However, as I became older, I realized that what she said was very true. Students do spend more time with their teachers, than their own parents. For many students, these teachers almost become parents in the classroom, especially if they have a disruptive environment at home. If a teacher deeply cared for a student, there is no limit to what he or she can do when they are older. At the same time, educators have to become extremely careful at caring too much. Before becoming an education major, I was actually working towards a psychology degree to become a children’s psychologist. My dad used to be a counselor and one of the things he said that always stuck with me was “You have to care without caring.”

Other important characteristics that I think a good teacher should possess are patience and being positive. One of the things teachers tend to forget is that even though they may have been teaching addition for 15 years, a student walking in their classroom is learning it for the first time. There is also the fact that every student is different, and that some will take a shorter or longer amount of time to learn a concept. And for students who are having difficulty learning a concept are already frustrated, it only makes it worse when a teacher shows signs of impatience and makes pessimistic remarks. While any job is not exactly “easy”, being a teacher is a hard profession that requires not only a strong academic foundation, but a large gift to care. I strongly believe that if a teacher does not want or have to the time to care, be patient and remain positive in their classroom, they have no business being in the classroom.Adart001 (talk) 17:39, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

It is most important to remember that a teacher can make a huge impact in children's lives. The power of that impact is the most fragile to protect. Teacher's need to have consistency and fairness when dealing with their students and the parents. I also think that caring is the key to that. Realizing that some of the students that we will be teaching will not get a kind word after they leave school, or a smile that they know is meant for them. I have seen this kids in my job and it is so frustrating to know that these children did not ask to be raised in their home environment and if there is something that we can do to help children realize that life can be different for them. We need them to realize also that education is the key to success and we will help them to achieve that goal. Some of these struggles for teachers is the lack of support from parents, money and time constraints from the administration, and the realization that no matter what you do you just have to do your best. There is a lot of mission statements for what teachers need to be or do, I just think that every child is special and needs someone to care about them and their future and teachers do it every day and even out of the classroom the qualities that make good teachers are in their daily lives that make them good people. Jnewh001 (talk) 16:45, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

I remember one of the big things to happen during the summer in elementary school was to find out who your teacher was. Once you found out you raced around the neighborhood to compare who everyone had for the next school year. We all had our preconceived notions as to which teacher was best and why. At the time I always thought the best teachers were ones that had their kids out of the classroom doing work. They might have been doing book reports in the library, or a science project in the field behind the school. I always wanted to be with that class. I enjoyed working outside of the confines of a classroom. As a teacher today, I still think the best teachers are the ones that make things very hands on for their students. They make education come alive through practical projects and hands on work. They won't be in the classroom being lectured about angles in math class, they will be walking around the school looking for angles to trace and then taking them back to the classroom to work on the equations. I feel that teachers who make education come alive for their students are some of the best educators around. Jtmitchem (talk) 02:01, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I think the most important characteristics of a good teacher are patience, good listening skills, willingness to learn new things, love of teaching children, and ability to set standards and hold students accountable. I have observed too many classrooms where the teacher failed in several of the above areas and as a result, not only did the students digress but the teacher became overwhelmed and dissatisfied with the job. Before going into teaching, you must have a love of learning and a desire to share your knowledge and experiences with others. If this is not the case, then you are in the wrong profession. Teachers must be patient and understand that not everyone learns the same way or at the same speed. Adjusting one's teaching style to help all students grasp the knowledge is what teaching is all about in my opinion. In order to help pre-service teachers be open to new conceptions of good teaching, teacher education programs should provide a number of hands-on instruction so that students can delve right into the heart of the new concepts. Another option would be to have students observe seasoned and new teachers with varying teaching styles so that they can take away some ideas.Scarlett1 (talk) 03:57, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

The best qualities a teacher can have are patience, understanding, ability to listen well, and knowledge. A teacher must understand what they are teaching and how the student is learning. Patience is necessary when working with children and in any job where you are constantly repeating yourself. Ateacher needs to be able to listen to the student and understand what they are saying. Students cannot always express what they mean and a teacher needs to be able to listen well.Jnemo001 (talk) 03:25, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the kids on this one. Caring makes a good teacher. I think that if a teacher truly has a passion for the profession that this passion will, eventually, carry them through and if they are not a good teacher in the beginning, it will motivate them to improve rapidly. Secondly I think a teacher should have an almost limitless amount of patience. Because surely it will be tested time and again, and with patience comes perseverance. So to sound cliche’ I think a teacher should possess three P’s, passion, patience, and perseverance. I think teacher education programs should expose would-be-teachers to new methods of teaching rather than hammering the basics into their skulls. Rather, I think adaptation is the key to good teaching instruction, the chalk board and lesson plans can only take one so far. I think teachers should learn how to converse well, and as a point of practice become seasoned public speakers. I believe placing emphasis in this area of pre-teaching education would be the most valuable to aspiring teachers as these skills are most often utilized within the classroom.BitterAsianMan (talk) 14:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

A good teacher should be caring but it does not have to be in an overtly conspicuous way. I teacher may not act in seemingly directly caring way, but their action are in the best interest of the students. A good teacher does not have to be nice. A firm teacher is sometimes necessary and does not detract from the quality of the teacher. Also a teacher should be knowledgeable, and persistent. Scrai010 (talk) 23:30, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I think that a good teacher has a few very good characteristics. For instance depending on the age group the teacher will have to use language that is appropriate for kids that age. I know from experience that I find that i do better in a classroom with a teacher that is more inclined to answer questions. Another good quality that helps me is if the teacher is easy to talk to. This makes asking questions easier and also makes the teacher seem less intimidating. Rcoll029 (talk) 03:00, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

To a large degree, I agree with the findings of the research study. I think that a good teacher is someone who is caring, polite, and well-organized. But I think that, of course, more details can be added to this assessment of a good teacher. A good teacher is one who understands well the content matter of the course he or she is teaching. He or she understands the objectives very well. In addition, he or she understand well common difficulties students have in learning each of the objectives. With the knowledge of these common difficulties in mind, the teacher can adjust the lessons, classwork, and instruction in such a way as to aid the learning of the students with respect areas that are particularly challenging. The study above suggests that people develop a view of what a good teacher is from an early age. Perhaps one way that the views of those who are in college can change is if they spend extra time contemplating new methods of teaching and spending time in the classroom observing now methods and skills of teaching. Mbrowder (talk) 13:10, 13 August 2009 (UTC)