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What makes a good teacher?

 
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 5:21 pm
Just very generally. I mean, those teachers who all the kids just like and listen to and don't give attitude where you end up spending more time on discipline than teaching. How do you get to be THAT teacher?
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amother




Burlywood
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 5:29 pm
I have a lot to sat about this topic, but no time to post it all now.
However, I think first and foremost be a NICE caring person. For some reason, Jewish teachers think they will win an award for being mean and never smiling and just staring the kids down a whole day.

Smile. Say good morning. Let the students know that you are genuinely happy to be with them. Welcome them back warmly after weekends and holidays. Find every opportunity to compliment. And respect that children are people who have basic needs like bathroom and drinking and don't torture them.
I think this comes before everything else.
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mushkamothers




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 6:00 pm
As a child I liked the teachers who respected me and saw me as a person.

As a teacher I tried to remember this and treat them as real people. Sounds funny but think about it. Validating their issues and complaints even if I wasn't going to give in. Not going over the bell. No busy work. No pointless assignments.

That's the basis. Then there's ingredients like learned skills - classroom management, interactive lessons.
And humility and willingness to learn and evolve and try new techniques

On that note my friend has an amazing new instagram account sharing tips and techniques.
@evergrowingeducator
This won't MAKE a good teacher but it's definitely one of the components. Like just actual skill. But you can't come in with fancy techniques if you don't command (read: earn) basic respect. So it's all intertwined.
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s1




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 6:08 pm
I Agree with burlywood
Also:
Get to know your pupils. Find out what makes them tick. Have private chats with them after class about what they need and want.
Don’t take things personally. Eg when they misbehave, it’s not because they hate you, it’s because they’re kids with no self control. When you don’t take things personally, your reactions are more controlled and measured.
Be human. don’t be scared to say you’re not feeling well, you made a mistake, you’re sorry, you forgot etc
Be consistent. Have policies and procedures that you follow 99.9% of the time. Keep your lesson plans consistent.
Also be flexible in an emergency, 0.01% of the time.
Be strict, kids need boundaries. Give 2nd chances but not 3rd or 4th or they’ll walk all over you and know they can get away with stuff.
It helps having someone to blame eg I have to give you homework twice a week, it’s what my line manager has told me. I can’t let you out early cos I’ll get into trouble from the Head.
Don’t get into confrontation. If you tell a kid they were chutzpaduk and they say “no I wasn’t” then you say “yes you were…” it just goes on and on. Keep things impersonal eg “that was not respectful, please rephrase it”. Don’t lower yourself to bickering with them, or begging them, it gets nowhere.
Most importantly , and possibly frustratingly , it takes time. After teaching 10 or 15 years you finally feel confident in who you are and how you do what you do and the kids sense that.

ETA mushkamothers, thanks for the Instagram link, I love it already!


Last edited by s1 on Tue, Nov 22 2022, 6:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Crystal
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 6:11 pm
amother Burlywood wrote:
I have a lot to sat about this topic, but no time to post it all now.
However, I think first and foremost be a NICE caring person. For some reason, Jewish teachers think they will win an award for being mean and never smiling and just staring the kids down a whole day.

Smile. Say good morning. Let the students know that you are genuinely happy to be with them. Welcome them back warmly after weekends and holidays. Find every opportunity to compliment. And respect that children are people who have basic needs like bathroom and drinking and don't torture them.
I think this comes before everything else.


I agree with all you say except the bolded.
I work in Bais Yaakov Elementary in Chestnut Ridge and all the teachers are so nice, and friendly, and kind! It's such a happy warm atmosphere... Please don't talk about Jewish teachers in such a way.
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nicole81




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 6:30 pm
Just quickly, don't expect the kids to respect you. Respect them first to earn their respect. Take an interest in them personally. Chat with them outside the class. The second you notice a child might possibly be a behavioral issue, do lunch together and gain some insight and let them see you care.

Learn language that deescalates situations. Thrown any punitive thoughts or measures out the window; they don't work.

Celebrate your students and don't want for grade or school celebrations to do so. Build a culture of celebration in your classroom.

In the beginning of the year, give kids surveys to gage their interests in various topics within your content as well as outside of your content area, and how they prefer to learn. Make sure to read them regularly and tie them into your lessons so they really feel heard and begin to trust you, as opposed to them rolling their eyes at useless beginning of the year paperwork.

Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. The most important thing is to keep kids engaged in school and with a clear pathway towards success. If a kid messed up, let them know it's ok, we all mess up, and make sure they know what needs to be done to regain traction.

Also set high expectations as to what you expect from students sharing, as well as students commenting on each other's work. Rigor is not worksheets. Push the kids to think deeply and give them interesting, rich, problems that comfortably challenge them. And make sure to provide ways for your lower skilled students to access these problems. Most behavioural issues are bc students are bored or lost.

This is just a tiny snippet of something I could speak forever on but no time😁 good luck!
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effess




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 6:42 pm
It really depends on the age students.
Caring is universal but it expresses itself differently for each age.
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amother




Crystal
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 7:15 pm
Classroom structure- it's important for a teacher to be clear and for the students to know what she expects from them. Schedule wise, behaviorally...

Procedures - Good teachers put in place good procedures for transitions and for asking questions and for using the bathroom... Again, students can learn to expect what's coming and what is expected of them. It makes the kids feel safe and enables them to succeed. Also, once the kids get used to it, everything takes faster and there is more time to learn.

Motivational- Different teachers do it in different ways. Some are just the personality that they ooze excitement and are dramatic and kids love to listen to them. Others need to bring in visual aid or projects to keep the students engaged and motivated.

Kids should feel safe- They should know that you look out for them and you will care for them when they are under your care. So you don't allow name calling or secrets in public or bullying. Even if it's recess time, you are looking out for them, not just shmoozing with other teachers. If a new therapist picks up a student in middle of class you wouldn't just send them out, you follow the kids and make sure she's comfortable with her... If student has issue with carpool or is nervous that she's going home with a different bus, she knows you'll show her where to go.

Obviously caring and kind. Let the kid drink something or let her put down her head for 5 minutes. She's in school for sooo many hours. (obviously don't let them take advantage of your caring to the point where they are taking advantage of you...) Respect them as a person.
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amother




OP
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 7:27 pm
Thank you!!
These responses are GOLD.
I am returning to teaching after 20 years. But previously I taught elementary. Now I’m going to teach high school. Which I’m excited about but also a bit intimidated about. I really want to do well and connect and have a positive learning environment. So please, please keep the tips and advice coming.
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amother




Crystal
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 7:29 pm
amother OP wrote:
Thank you!!
These responses are GOLD.
I am returning to teaching after 20 years. But previously I taught elementary. Now I’m going to teach high school. Which I’m excited about but also a bit intimidated about. I really want to do well and connect and have a positive learning environment. So please, please keep the tips and advice coming.


I think it's good that you specified that it's for high school. Even though I teach elementary, I wouldn't have any advice for high school teacher...
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amother




Thistle
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 7:33 pm
For high school I'd say:
1) Genuine Passion for what you're teaching
2) Know your work inside out
3) Respect: Respect your students and also respect the time you spend in the classroom. Students can see which teachers are teaching for the money (and don't care to waste time) and which ones are teaching because they want to be there.
4) Clear expectations of your students
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amother




Rainbow
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 8:12 pm
For high school I'd say:
1) Genuine Passion for what you're teaching
2) Know your work inside out
3) Respect: Respect your students and also respect the time you spend in the classroom. Students can see which teachers are teaching for the money (and don't care to waste time) and which ones are teaching because they want to be there.
4) Clear expectations of your students[quote]

Agree with all of this as a HS teacher.
I’m addition,
Dress well. Put together, clean and neat. They notice everything.
Avoid busy work. explain to them the purpose of each assignment/hw/etc make it challenging but purposeful.
show an interest in them as people. Notice their uniqueness. Show them that you’re first and foremost a mom who understands that not everything is black and white but allow room for nuance. (I.e kid has the flu for a week let her skip the quiz she missed…) understand that while your subject is important they have a lot of work from many teachers and it’s hard to be a HS kid. Have expectations and motivate them but at same time be flexible and understanding.
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mushkamothers




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 8:20 pm
amother OP wrote:
Thank you!!
These responses are GOLD.
I am returning to teaching after 20 years. But previously I taught elementary. Now I’m going to teach high school. Which I’m excited about but also a bit intimidated about. I really want to do well and connect and have a positive learning environment. So please, please keep the tips and advice coming.


Okay - go back and reread my post bc I taught high school and they weren't easy. Secular kids who didn't want to learn jewish studies and I also taught boys.
You really have to just be human. Not sharing your issues or being buddy buddy but like having empathy.
Very clear and strict expectations. don't bother starting anything you won't stand firm behind.
And again, respect them as people. In fact one of my popular activities was an anonymous submission where they shared something and it was really eye opening. Every kid has a whole life outside of your classroom. Make the learning relevant and meaningful or they'll rightly tune out.

Teach like a champion is a good book but adapt it for high school.
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amother




Hyssop
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 9:29 pm
following, love this thread! Highschool teacher here
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amother




Smokey
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 10:15 pm
high school don't go overtime.
Keep the lessons moving don't have a discussion with 5 girls for 5 minutes you will loose the whole class.
Add some extra knowledge questions interesting fact to keep the smart girls thinking.
Don't have the kids memorize too much material.
The class should be a give and take. Not one long speech.
Keep track of the school /jewish calendar. It adds alot to the lesson when you tie in your subject to the current yomim tovim or school theme....don't forget to also add a small extra on celebrating days.
Don't give the kids busy work or too many quizzes. However hold kids accountable for homework given.
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nicole81




 
 
 
 

Post Tue, Nov 22 2022, 11:26 pm
mushkamothers wrote:


Teach like a champion is a good book but adapt it for high school.


Agree with the book recommendation. I've supervised many teachers who used the strategies successfully at the high school level.

I've been a hs teacher, administrator, principal, and instructional coach (public schools) and hands down, the teachers who are the most successful with the students are those who have positive relationships with kids (I don't mean like pals, just being genuinely caring and using restorative language when necessary), and those that provide interesting lessons and challenge the kids (not with a ton of work necessarily, but expecting higher levels of thinking in your assignments and classwork and holding them accountable for that)

In NYC and other places, districts have adapted Charlotte Danielson's framework for teaching as an evaluative tool. I don't love that practice, but prior to the implementation, I used Danielson's book as a teacher for a reflective aide in planning my lessons and units. I would suggest taking a look at it (there are various iterations online). All the important elements of stellar teaching are in there, is pacing, classroom climate, discipline, content knowledge, planning, questions and discussions, ongoing assessment, etc.

Re homework, idk what your content area is, but I've seen too many teachers go nuts with hw especially in math. There's literally no advantage to repeating the same process 20 times over if a student has mastered it. Don't give a lot of homework assignments nightly, but be super thoughtful about what you do assign.

One last note, which is covered in Danielson but should be repeated, don't go crazy with rules. But whatever the rules are, and the consequences you express (run them by your admin first to make sure they'll be supported), you must follow through with what you say. The first time you don't, the class learns not to take you seriously. So whatever you decide, make sure they're rules you can monitor and consequences you can implement without losing your mind.

Oh and one more thing lol... Be human. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we may regret something we tell a student or class. It's ok to apologize. The kids will respect you more.

Oh and one more again🤣 high school kids like a quick turnaround on graded work. Only collect as much as you can keep up with grading. It's ok to grade hw on the spot as done or not done (I would go through and read select responses while the kids would work on their do now, so they mostly did not try to fake it). And connected, make use of an online gradebook or app. I would walk around with my phone and literally enter a 1 or 0 for the hw into the gradebook in the first 5 minutes.

So much more but I need to get to bed. Just the fact that you're asking is great news. Taking the actual classroom out of the equation for a minute, my best teachers have also always been super reflective, willing to learn, and eager to try new things. Seems like that's you're style😊
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s1




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 23 2022, 6:37 am
What’s busy work?
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nicole81




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Nov 23 2022, 10:11 am
s1 wrote:
What’s busy work?


I'm not the one who referenced it, but it's mindless work, usually worksheets, where kids are just regurgitating facts. Imo basically anything that requires little more than recall is busy work.
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amother




Rainbow
 

Post Wed, Nov 23 2022, 10:56 am
I’ll add to the above…homework for the sake of homework. If you have an extra few minutes let them just do the “homework” at the end of class they will be so grateful for one less thing to do at home.
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