This is a question that often occupies my thoughts. We are taking on new staff on at the moment and beginning new training cycles and  find myself (as always) trying to get to the heart of this-here are some things I am pretty sure DON’T necessarily make a good teacher-

Technical skill, extra degrees, over-confidence, being sure you are right, trying to ensure everyone does the same, over-reliance on test marks, sticking exactly to set hours, never talking to students about anything other than schoolwork.

We have emplyed scores of teachers over the last two decades and the qualities of a good teacher remain a little undefinable but some things stand out-

A good teacher-

  • Really loves kids although at times experiences them as incredibly annoying and frustrating.
  • KNOWS that a teacher can never know it all and understands that teaching is a daily learning experience.
  • Approaches teaching as a calling, a sacred journey of preparing the next generation to play their part and have happy, fulfilled lives.
  • Understands at a deep level that all kids learn differently and that we need to “kid-watch” rather than rely on arbitrary and outdated test scores.
  • Is prepared to learn from children.
  • Understands that parents are the senior partner in the education process.
  • Can get on the floor, make a mess, have fun, laugh and learn-WITH the children.

Ben Jensen from the Grattan Institute says” Too much is made of qualifications that often don’t result in improved learning and teching in classrooms. Good teaching requires many skills but fundamental is the ability to diagnose each student’s learning-where they are in their developmental path-and to shape teaching methods to take them to the next step”.

I agree -good teachers observe, “feel”, ask questions and probe until they really know what each child need and then delivers the program in engaging ways.

It is an honour to teach -and to teach well brings joy to both student and teacher!

sticking to timetable always

insisting everyone does the same


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