A cover article of Time Magazine was entitled, “How to Make Better Teachers.”
My thoughts after reading the article:
Great teachers understand that they are in the “relationship business.” Many students—especially those in low socio-economic areas—put forth little effort if they have negative feelings about their teachers. Superior teachers establish good relationships and have high expectations.
These teachers communicate in positive ways, such as letting their students know what the teacher wants them to do, rather than by telling students what not to do. Great teachers inspire rather than coerce. They aim at promoting responsibility rather than obedience because they know that obedience does not create desire.
Great teachers identify the reason that a lesson is being taught and then share it with their students. These teachers inspire their students through curiosity, challenge, and relevancy.
Great teachers are inspired teachers. Offering more pay does not prompt them to work harder any more than a president would work harder for more pay. They aim to increase their effectiveness, which may or may not result in harder work.
What will improve teaching are improved skills that prompt students to want to behave responsibly and want to put forth effort in their learning.
Great teachers have an open mindset. They reflect so that if a lesson needs improvement, they look to themselves to change something before they expect their students to change.
Unfortunately, today’s educational establishment still has a 20th century mindset that focuses on external approaches to increase motivation. An example of the fallacy of this approach is the defunct self-esteem movement that used external approaches such as stickers and praise in attempts to make young people happy and feel good about themselves. What was overlooked was the simple universal truth that people develop positive self-talk and self-esteem through the successes of their own efforts.
Education is about motivation. Great teachers know this.