Could Alexander the Great ‘conquer the world’ without the wisdom of his teacher Aristotle? And was it not Chanakya who transformed a common boy into Chandragupta Maurya? Chanakya and Aristotle were contemporaries and changed the course of history. They are among the most influential teachers of all times and perhaps, the ideal which has become an inspiration for millions of teachers around the world.
There is surprisingly little consensus on how to define an ‘ideal teacher’ and the qualities to look out for when recruiting them for your school.
Read through the 10 listed qualities and you are sure to find a great teacher
A great teacher conveys a sense of leadership to students by providing opportunities for each of them to assume leadership roles. They set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward. To do this, they create an inspiring vision, and then motivate and inspire students to reach that vision.
A great teacher knows that ‘you get the chicken by hatching the egg and not by smashing it.’ In a classroom situation, patience is one of the greatest virtues to have. And a great teacher internalises this age old wisdom.
- Team Player
Teachers are part of a school community; a great teacher should be willing to work to make the community a better place. They lighten up the staff room atmosphere and create an amiable environment for mutual growth.
- Strong Communication Skills
Research suggests that more than 80% of human communication happens through non-verbal forms of communication such as facial expressions and gestures. Non-verbal communication works at the sub-conscious level and goes a long way in establishing trust. A great teacher, apart from being fluent in verbal communication, is mindful of the above fact. More importantly, their bodily practice reflects a deep understanding of human communication.
- Understanding child psychology
A teacher should have a keen interest in social and mental development of children. In a great teacher’s classroom, each person’s ideas and opinions are valued. Students feel safe to express their feelings and learn to respect and listen to others. This teacher creates a welcoming learning environment for all students.
- Manage the expectation of parents
Most students in India are first generation school goers. And parents see the school experience as transformational for their children as well as for the family. The teacher, needs to be mindful of this very important fact and should employ novel parent connect techniques.
- Emotional Intelligence
A great teacher’s thinking and behaviour is guided by an intuitive understanding of human emotions. Moreover, they have an innate ability to recognise, understand and influence the emotions in a classroom.
- Love for Learning
The 21st century is an era of great churning and change. Novelty defines our time and a great teacher welcomes this change. This teacher has no fear of learning new teaching strategies or incorporating new technologies. Jim Henson’s famous advice to teachers holds true, now more than ever, “kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
- Love for their Subject
A great teacher is a generalist, yet he/she exhibits a profound interest for their specific subjects. And not only do they love their subject, but they love to share that joy with students. This can lay a strong foundation for students to pursue that subject as they grow up.
- Child at heart
Children are curious, they have a questioning mind and they love to play. Great teachers exhibit the same qualities. They are the oldest children in a classroom and perhaps more curious and playful than the rest.