Education Matters

What makes a great teacher?

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on Oct 5, 2016 6:00:00 AM

What makes a great teacher?“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward.

With today marking World Teachers’ Day, we thought it was time to put teachers in the spotlight. World Teachers’ Day held annually on 5 October, is a UNESCO initiative devoted to appreciating, assessing, and improving the educators of the world. It takes a special person to guide our children through their education and equip them with the skills and knowledge required to survive and thrive in the world.

At Trinity Grammar School we take pride in the quality and dedication of our excellent academic staff – in our opinion, our teachers are second to none! But just what makes a great teacher? While we could go on and on about the virtues of our educators, we’ve narrowed it down to some essential characteristics that we look for in potential teaching staff.

Passion for teaching and learning
A passionate educator will have a genuine love of teaching. Passionate teachers demonstrate a love of learning themselves – they are confident in what they know and keen to learn what they don’t. They seek out innovative and interesting ways of engaging with students. The challenge of helping their students learn is what these teachers thrive on and what keeps them motivated.

Enthusiastic, dedicated and patient
With passion comes dedication and enthusiasm which is infectious with students being drawn into the learning process with equal enthusiasm. The dedicated teacher is generous with their time, taking the time to help students who may have difficulties grasping a concept. Rather than show irritation, the dedicated teacher will demonstrate patience and find different ways in which to explain the concept until it is understood. The enthusiastic teacher continues teaching outside of the classroom in areas such as sport and music for example – this interaction helps to build positive relationships with students which in turn motivates learning back in the classroom.

Engaging and provides two-way feedback
Tied in closely with a passion for learning, a great teacher can find a way to connect with each student, inspire curiosity and ensure that each child is reaching their full potential. They are wonderful communicators and enjoy telling stories, giving real life examples and above-all listening. They find stimulating ways of communicating that keep students engaged and excited about the topic at hand, and this will likely be emulated in the student. Great teachers use feedback to enhance student and their own, learning and growth. They create an environment where mistakes are seen as a learning opportunity and feedback is used to highlight areas of focus for improvement. A great teacher recognises that learning and understanding are active rather than passive processes.

Set expectations and challenges students
Great teachers empower students to own their learning and they set high expectations, but not so unrealistic that students feel set up to fail. Great teachers are not content with simply imparting knowledge – they seek to ensure each student is challenged enough to go beyond their comfort zone, often with the student achieving more than he could have imagined. Students should feel that no matter their academic competency, they are being supported to perform to their full potential.

Accessibility and flexibility
Great teachers are available to their students and giving of their time outside the classroom. They find novel ways to engage with students who struggle to master what they are trying to teach. Rather than see this as a failure, a great teacher will see this as feedback that their method is not working – they will seek out alternative approaches and monitor their impact until they find a solution.

Professionalism
Great teachers while being approachable and engaging, always maintain a level of professionalism in how they present themselves, plan their lessons and engage with students and other staff. They value each student’s ideas and opinions and enjoy collaboration with students and peers. This approach, along with treating their students with respect and empathy, earns great teachers the respect they deserve rather than demand.

Robert Brault best sums up the essence of a great teacher: “The average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity.”

One of the most influential factors in determining whether your son enjoys school, is the relationship he has with his teacher/s. Relationships are strengthened through interactions in the classroom, and outside through involvement in sport, cadets, the arts and more. At Trinity Grammar School we pride ourselves on the exemplary quality of our teaching faculty, who adopt inquiry-based learning practices. Our teachers embody the School ethos to ensure your son will be known, cared for and guided to grow in mind, body and spirit. He will learn in a positive and passionate environment, where we strive to make everyone feel part of the Trinity family.

To learn more about the vital role that teachers play in school communities, visit our School Communities page.

To find out more about the Trinity difference and how we guide boys to realise their potential, passions, and purpose in life, register for our Open Day.

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Topics: Boys' education, Boys learning, Education