What Makes a Good Teacher?

Earlier in the week, the science teacher at my school sent me a link to this article appearing in the nytimes magazine this weekend. And today the Head of School sent it to all the teachers. It’s a longish article, and if you’re reading it on the screen, I would get the readability app that I described a few posts ago, click on the ‘single page’ button near the beginning of the article, then use the readability app.

I though the article was good and highlighted some interesting points and I look forward to seeing the full taxonomy. What struck me was all the negativity from the many readers who posted comments. I chimed in as well in the reader’s comment section by quickly mentioning Carol Dweck’s idea of a growth mindset. Can a teacher be taught to teach? Of course. The teacher has to believe that he can too. But what is good teaching? The measures I feel they are using (student test scores and classroom management) are only part of the picture. Good teachers have to be willing to adapt, know that there is always something new to learn, and recognize that they are not always going to get it right. They also have to keep trying to keep learning. That’s what learning is. If we can’t do it, then how can we expect our students to?

This piece also reminded me of an article that appeared in the Atlantic about a month ago that another teacher shared with me.

After reading those articles maybe something lighter might be in order. I know that good teaching isn’t this …

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One thought on “What Makes a Good Teacher?

  1. Anthony, I read the whole article in about 20 minutes. Very interesting and was glad Matt sent it out. I agree with you that any teacher can learn new techniques but they need to want to learn first. I have seen a lot of those good teaching qualities at both of my independent schools so I guess that says something. But as a profession we have a long ways to go. Why are we still discussing what someone almost 100 years ago concluded? Sigh. Thanks again for taking the time to post your thoughts and concerns, it is getting me to read and think more about our profession.

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