The Students’ View: What Makes a Great Teacher?

by Kelly Middleton; from AOLNews

What do the best teachers do? One of the best sources to answer this question is students because they know what works for them.

What do they say? We looked into it and found that the top things students say the best teachers do are:

  • Know us personally–our interests and strengths
  • Let us know who they are as individuals
  • Smile at us
  • Encourage us to participate in school activities
  • Spend time beyond class time to help us be successful in their class
  • Give us descriptive feedback on assignments
  • Tell us why
  • Share how what we learn is connected to real life
  • Apologize when they make mistakes
  • Give meaningful work
  • Are energetic, enthusiastic and enjoy their job

As one looks at this list of attributes identified by students, the words of Dr. James Comer capture what the best teachers know: “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”

One can’t argue with the importance of content knowledge, but that alone is insufficient to capture the essence of great teaching. At the heart of effective teaching is relationships.

Kelly Middleton is superintendent of the Newport (KY) School District and co-author with Elizabeth Petitt of the recently published book Simply the Best: 29 Things Students Say the Best Teachers Do Around Relationships.

See also in ClassWise:  “Why Tough Teachers Get Good Results”

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