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What were the traits of your favorite teachers?
Year - Column - Properties - Powerful - Teachers
Roughly a year ago, I wrote a column on “The 4 Properties of Powerful Teachers,” and named “personality” as one of those qualities. While recognizing that everyone is different, and that personality isn’t necessarily something we can control, I was attempting to identify key characteristics that most of my best teachers, from kindergarten through graduate school, had in common.
When I say “best teachers,” I’m not just talking about the ones I liked best. I mean the teachers who had the greatest influence on me — the ones whose names I still remember to this day, even though in some cases it’s been more than 40 years since I sat in their classrooms. They are people I’ve tried to emulate in my own teaching.
Teachers - Answers - Question - Personality - Factor
What made them good teachers? I can’t offer any empirical answers to that question, but I do know that personality was a key factor in all of them. Perhaps we can measure effectiveness in the classroom, to some extent, but how do we really determine quality? It seems to me that we’ve been trying for years, through various evaluation metrics, without a whole lot of success. I’ve known some bad teachers who were able to manipulate the metrics, and some good ones whose excellence wasn’t immediately apparent on paper….
They are professional without being aloof. Most academics tend to keep students at arm’s length — the obvious message being, “I’m your teacher, not your friend.” Clearly, professionalism requires a certain amount of boundary-setting, which can be difficult, especially when dealing with older students, where the age gap is often not all that wide and, under different circumstances, they might actually be your friends. My best teachers always seemed to effortlessly walk that very fine line between being an authority figure and being...
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