Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Characteristics of Great Teachers

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Characteristics of Great Teachers

Teaching is one of the most complicated, challenging, stressful, time-consuming careers a person can choose to pursue. It demands broad knowledge of subject matter, enthusiasm, a caring attitude, and a love of learning, skills of discipline and classroom management techniques and a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people.  Kindness, compassion, and overwhelming dedication to the children keep them coming back despite challenges. Usually, his time is filled with long hours, preparations; weekends spent grading papers, few breaks, Low salaries, fewer facilities.  It is a calling, a passion, a life’s work to be a teacher. In the other words, Teaching is a tough, important, purposeful and honorable journey to nurture and lead young generation. With all these qualities required, it’s no wonder that it’s hard to find great teachers.
Great teachers have clear, written-out objectives. They have lesson plans that give students a clear idea of what they will be learning, what the assignments are and what the grading policy is. Assignments have learning goals and give students ample opportunity to practice new skills. The teacher is consistent in grading and returns work in a timely manner. Great teachers are prepared and organized. They are in their classrooms early and ready to teach. They present lessons in a clear and structured way. Their classrooms are organized in such a way as to minimize distractions. Great teachers engage students and get them to look at issues in a variety of ways. Effective teachers use facts as a starting point, not an end point; they ask “why” questions, look at all sides and encourage students to predict what will happen next. They ask questions frequently to make sure students are following along. They try to engage the whole class, and they don’t allow a few students to dominate the class. They keep students motivated with varied, lively approaches.
Great teachers form strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as people. Great teachers are warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. Teachers with these qualities are known to stay after school and make themselves available to students and parents who need them and they demonstrate a commitment to the school. Great teachers are masters of their subject matter. They exhibit expertise in the subjects they are teaching and spend time continuing to gain new knowledge in their field. They present material in an enthusiastic manner and instill a hunger in their students to learn more on their own. Great teachers communicate frequently with parents. They reach parents through conferences and frequent written reports home. They do not hesitate to pick up the telephone to call a parent if they are concerned about a student.
Unlike traditional teacher, great teachers involve students into the teaching process by questioning and by interacting with them is a verity of methods. Once the students are involved mentally, physically and socially then it helps in better retention. It is aptly said, “People remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they hear and see and 80% of what they hear, see and do”. While teaching, the teacher’s oral language should be supported by the usage of blackboard or power point presentations, or cue cards. There has to be effective coordination between these two for effective teaching. It makes the students to concentrate effectively. If students fail to understand the oral language then the black board writing material will come to their rescue for better understanding and retention. The teacher while using the black board should not spend too much time towards black board as it loses the touch with the students. There has to be a fine balance between these two elements.
In most country, teachers must have certain degree in elementary school and pass a rigorous test in core curriculum areas. Middle and high school teachers must demonstrate competency in the subject area they teach by passing a test or by completing an academic major, graduate degree or comparable course work. These requirements already apply to all new hires. Schools are required to tell parents about the qualifications of all teachers, and they must notify parents if their child is taught for more than four weeks by a teacher who is not highly qualified. The role of teacher in modern educational system is not only passing on merely knowledge to students but also, as a real architect of new generation, responsible to build personality of future citizens. They do not just impart knowledge but also acts as a friend, philosopher, guide, parent and facilitator. He is a continuous learner and an excellent listener. The more he listens the more he learns and the more he learns then the more he teaches. That is why it is said that the teachers are lifelong learners and their learning is the real meaning of learning from cradle to grave. In fact, Teaching is comprised of theoretical and artistic components: The theoretical parts should be studied, researched and understood but the artistic part must be cultivated by teaching experience. Anybody and everybody can cultivate this skill but human upbringing needs enthusiasm, hard work and also national investments.
Teachers are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts effect the fate of a nation. Beside building the talent of students, they have to motivate and inspire the students by being a role model to build their personality. Teachers need to know what motivates the students and what are their aspirations and expectations from the teachers. Great teachers are not born in the minds of the students but they are born in the hearts of the students; a teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. Finally great teachers are like a candle that consumes itself to light the way for others.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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