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What Makes an...

What Makes an Effective Teacher

Imagine this scene: a high-school teacher standing at the door with a frown on her face as students walk into her class. The tardy bell rings. She says, “Everyone quiet down. Get some paper and a pen. Your assignment for today is on the board. Do it.” Then she proceeds to sit at her desk, get on her computer, and surf the Internet for the remainder of the class period. No actual teaching takes place. The students receive no lecture, no assistance, nothing. Why? Because this is how this particular teacher teaches. Would you say she is an effective teacher? No. Yet, she remains in the classroom today.

Being a teacher in today's society is a difficult yet rewarding job. Not everyone is suited for teaching. Aside from having a love for working with children, teaching is a career like no other. Effective teachers are hard to come by nowadays. An effective teacher is not only the master of her subject area, but also an educator with a strong emotional backbone. Daily, she interacts with students from different backgrounds, with different learning skills and with differing emotions. To be a success in the classroom, clearly-written objectives and maintaining discipline is essential. This will break some teachers (especially the rookies), but is crucial for learning to occur.

She also will set high expectations for all of her students and never give up on the underachievers. She will always make herself available to students, whether it's before class begins or by staying after school. She also will have additional work for students needing extra assistance in learning the subject matter. After all, students learn differently; some may be visual learners, while others may be auditory learners. 

An effective teacher will contrast her lesson so that students will look at the material at hand in a variety of ways. This will ensure her students remain on task during the entire class session. By asking open-ended questions, students will remain interested and thus, not be subjected to boredom. As difficult as this may sound, it can be achieved. She will always be an enthusiastic, organized, and caring individual, and will make learning fun. She will not simply write the assignment on the board and tell students, “There's your assignment. Get to work!” and proceed to sit at her desk for the remainder of the period. Instead, she will add games or use media in the learning process; this way, students will never be apathetic and will crave learning.

An effective teacher will maintain communication with parents consistently. Teachers not only will keep in touch with parents when their children are struggling or failing, but also when they are excelling. Think about it. Wouldn't any parent love to hear about his or her child and how great he or she is doing in school? All students matter to teachers. A teacher will treat all students with fairness and respect. An essential bond must be established if a child is to succeed in the classroom. All students are special and each must feel that the teacher cares about them as people and not just as another student. If this connection is not evident, then the child will not want to learn, and perhaps will fail. Our children need support, guidance, and the proper instruction so that they will succeed in life—not only in the career that they choose, but also as the person they become in life.

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