I’m reading a post by Joanne Yatvin on what we should be teaching in the classroom. As she notes:
"From reflecting on my own education and questioning friends about theirs, I have confirmed what I had long suspected: we don’t use or even remember much of what was taught and tested in school. But we do hang on to those few things that pushed us toward our careers, hobbies, or habits in the first place. I turned out to be an English teacher and a writer who remembers many of the books, plays, and poems I read in school. Even now, I can quote a few Shakespearian soliloquies and recite the prelude to The Canterbury Tales—in Middle English!
But don’t ask me who the president of the United States was during the French and Indian War or even what that war was about. Don’t ask me to find the Congo on an unmarked map of Africa. Even the advanced math and biology I studied at college have faded from my memory completely.
To help you get a fuller picture of my concept of teaching excellence, here are some other teacher qualities I think are important.
A good teacher:
- Is aware, as far as possible, of each students’ academic strengths and weaknesses
- Plans lessons that cover the range of students’ instructional needs and connect to their interests
- Adjusts lessons while teaching in response to students’ questions and actions
- Demonstrates respect and trust for students that they, in turn, give back to her/him and their classmates
- Establishes a system of small group and independent learning that allows students to experience the roles of leader, follower, partner, and innovator
- Discusses behavior or work problems with the offenders privately, out of respect for their dignity.
- Makes an effort to include an encouraging comment or two when critiquing student work
- Begins each day with enthusiasm and optimism, putting aside past disappointments
You can read the entire article here.