Being the Best Teacher
I have been working in education for more years than I can count. Currently, I work at SpiderSmart as a virtual teacher in the Reading & Writing program. To me, working with children comes naturally. It is, to put it simply, fun.
I love the energy of children, their laughter, tears, families, and stories. This job is not work because I am passionate about the students. Not just the obvious part of improving their English skills, but also being a sounding board for them if they need someone to chat with. I enjoy being the person that they share their triumphs with, as well as their defeats.
One of the most important things a teacher can be is empathetic, to be that person that the students are comfortable with. This skill helps me understand what it is like to be a student without confidence, with stress, to be overwhelmed, or to not be able to understand the materials. Empathy helps me connect with my students.
Enthusiasm is also important. If the teacher doesn’t come to class happy and ready to go, how can we expect the student to be focused for the assigned time? I look forward to every class and enter my classes with a bright smile and confidence so that the children react positively. One thing all teachers can improve is how to encourage students to be more enthusiastic. They are little people, and even the middle schoolers and the high schoolers are children at heart, and they need positive, enthusiastic guidance. I am there for them in the highs and lows.
A large part of being a great teacher is guiding students’ independence. Don’t spoon feed them everything that they need to do an assignment. Let them make mistakes. How do toddlers learn to walk? They fall down, repeatedly. The same applies to doing assignments. My students may come to class not having a clue how they were supposed to have written their assignment; however, with some guidance and positive encouragement, they will find their words with strategies to be an independent and effective learner.
Finally, one of the most important qualities of an exceptional teacher is patience. Never act annoyed that the student does not know something. Even if it means repeating yourself more than you think you should, be patient and rephrase yourself. Those moments of silence are not necessarily a student being obstinate, they may just be formulating their response. Often, necessary reflection requires a period of silence.
In conclusion, our students are people. Show respect for students as people. Try to understand their struggles. Be the best teacher you can possibly be and be that person that they look forward to meeting each week!