Teaching is certainly one of the most legitimate and socially-useful professions in the world. Nations and communities can expect a huge return on their investment in education. In the face of increasing complexity and challenges, teaching deserves recognition, respect, and support. Perhaps more than ever this is the case right now. I would like to share what I have learned about the qualities that make great teachers.
Great teachers have a unique way of building relationships: way beyond the competence in their subject-matters, teachers know that making kids confident and happy with skills in reading, writing, speaking different languages, solving maths problems, or quite simply diving into history, are the key elements to their intellectual progress and motivation.
The best teachers perceive, understand and adapt to each child’s way of learning: their magic works when they deliver more visual content to child A, stimulate the auditive capacity of child B, encourage the competitive spirit of child C or wrap up child D are the adapted emotional framework. Each child who feels he or she is worthy of sincere interest on the part of a teacher becomes empowered.
Great teachers set high standards for students’ behavior as well as their work. They work on the assumption that students are more capable than they actually think. They often do not need to sanction or intervene: students intuitively feel they are expected to meet the told and untold standards. Great teachers know how to postpone reward: making sure young children in the 21st century, living in this world of instant gratification, learn that greater rewards await them at the end of a prolonged effort.
Great teachers connect to the real world: students profoundly need the motivation to know that the time spent in the classroom learning will help them to understand and thrive in their environment.
Great teachers have adopted a growth mindset, and are determined to improve things, through their own life-long professional development. I have met many adults who think they know better about education and teaching: in my view, they would not last a single week in a classroom full of life, emotions, and aspirations.
Great teachers are great coaches, mediators, and deliverers of intellectual mastery. They deserve our gratitude and empowerment.
Philippe de Korodi
– School Principal