While trying to clean up the documents on my computer, I found a gem: my application for education that I completed in 2013. The question, I believe, was something like: “What are three of the most important qualities that a teacher must possess.” Reading over my answer, I still think it is a nicely written piece but I feel like, back then, I hardly knew what I was talking about; I really didn’t know the meaning of what I was saying because I had no experience as a teacher in the classroom. Now, being in the classroom and having taken several education classes, I feel like I am able to talk about education with much more authority; I am able to share my opinion with confidence on this blog, Google Plus, Twitter and in every aspect of my life because I know that I, as a preservice teacher, am part of the future of education in this province. In addition, this class has given me the confidence I need to be able to use social media tools to get my opinions across in a professional manner which, in turn, also helps me build my Personal Learning Network.
The following is my answer to the writing prompt for my education application in 2013.
“Throughout the school year, teachers spend an enormous amount of time with their students, supporting their growth so they can acquire fundamental skills for life after high school. Therefore, teachers have exceptional influence in developing the minds of the next generation. With such influence, however, comes great responsibility. Thus, it is vital teachers possess certain skills, traits and characteristics that allow them to provide the best education possible. There are three qualities that every great teacher has, particularly those teaching English. First, teachers must be enthusiastic about what they teach. If teachers have passion for their subject, they will have a greater ability to convey the material in a compelling way. Students will become more engaged in the class and will thereby be more likely to succeed. Teachers, however, must also possess classroom management skills and ensure that, with this interactive learning environment, there is not a loss of substance in their lectures. Second, teachers must create a sense of belonging in their classroom because, in this community-like environment, students are more likely to participate in classroom discussion. This is especially important for English classes because by students contributing to discussions, they are forced to think critically and consider alternate ideas. To promote this engagement, teachers should ensure there is respect among pupils while also showing the same respect for their students. While sustaining this open learning environment, teachers must also recognize that every students’ needs are different and adapt to these needs accordingly. Lastly, it is vital that teachers have high expectations for their students. When teachers believe that every student can achieve what the students themselves think is unattainable, it gives students the self-assurance they need to reach their potential. This is especially important for English because, writing and reading being fundamental skills, it is important students have the self-confidence and support needed to develop these skills. Teachers have unparalleled influence over today’s young minds and it is essential they use this opportunity to hone every students’ abilities. The future generation – consisting of possibly the best and brightest minds yet – will thank them for it.”
I hit all the right points in this response as, in the classroom today, these are things that I try to focus on. Yet, being a great teacher requires a lot more skills than just the ones described above. Thinking about it now, I don’t even necessarily believe that being a good teacher requires ten years of teaching experience. Don’t get me wrong, I think seniority in teaching certainly helps, especially with class management skills, but as long as you have an enthusiasm for teaching and passion for what you do, the students respond well; in my mind, if you show students respect they will, generally, give you it in return.
To end, I’m going to leave you with a video that makes me so excited for my future in teaching. I want to be the “champion” of my students, I want to help them learn in ways that they never thought possible. I want to help them realize their potential and most significantly, attain their goals. Well, that’s the plan, anyways. I was never known for taking little steps! What I like especially about this video, however, is the sense of humour that this teacher obviously has and employs in her classroom. I think using humour in the classroom is a sure way to create relationships and to create a sense of community within the classroom. It is an excellent way to lessen tensions, ease anxieties and make students laugh. When they say “humour is the best medicine,” I absolutely agree; it’s amazing how good laughing feels after having a bad day and it is therefore nice for teachers to use humour in the classroom.
Anyway have any thoughts? What qualities do you think it is important for teachers to have in the classroom?