Teacher!

by Arlene Birt


“Teachers have a big impact and people remember their teachers years later.  I had lots of great teachers and they impacted and shaped who I am today.  Whenever I think of my favorite teacher, I think of Miss B because she really cared for you and was willing to help.  That was my favorite year and I loved going to school.”

This quote is from one of my students in the high school “Intro to Teaching” class that I co-taught a few years ago.  I asked the students to reflect on great teachers and respond to questions such as:

Which teacher touched your life?

Who kindled your interest?

How did they do that?

Who pressed you to do your best?

Another student responded, “Mr. R is definitely someone who pressed us to do our best in our Christian walks.  I would say that Miss A really showed love to us, since she always had a gentle but firm spirit.  Mr. G and Mr. R both had a passion for their subjects and communicated it by being excited and fired up about what they had for us to learn.”

Good teachers have to wear many hats.  You may be an instructor, coach, nurse, preacher, traffic controller, cook, janitor, evaluator, and librarian all in one day.  I’m sure we could list many more roles that we assume.

“Classroom manager” is an important role for us. There are many aspects of classroom management as we manage the teacher, students, instruction, behavior, motivation, discipleship, classroom environment, and relationships.

Classroom management begins with the teacher and significantly impacts student learning and teacher satisfaction.  Students remember great teachers who touched their lives, sparked their interests, and encouraged them to do their best.  They maintain powerful images of the teachers who demonstrated  deep love and care for children.  These great teachers passed on a passion for the subjects they taught and captivated their students with that passion.  “They approached their work with creativity and imagination, striving constantly to improve” (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 2002).

The classroom teacher is the most important component of education (Beaty, 2010).

Research shows and Marzano’s (2003) meta-analysis supports the idea that effective teachers make a big difference in student learning.  As the leader of the classroom, the teacher sets the emotional tone in the classroom.  The teacher establishes the environment for students, for their success or failure, their feeling safe, and their confidence (Sprick, 2006).  The teacher must know how to interact with students, and must show care and respect for students.  The teacher should model positive character traits and show students that school is a place to love learning (Selig, 2010).  Each student should feel noticed and cared for.

The teacher’s behavior is an important factor in student behavior (Sprick, 2006).  The teacher needs to be “with-it,” having the ability to identify and quickly act on potential behavior problems (Marzano, 2003).  Good teachers are aware of what is happening in the classroom at all times.  They scan the room even when working with individuals or groups and demonstrate their awareness by intervening promptly and accurately when behavior threatens to disrupt.

The teacher must make presentations interesting and involve students in learning and activities.  He should be dynamic, clear, use humor, vary the tone of voice, vary intensity, make the lesson’s purpose clear, and clarify information (Sprick, 2006).  She must give clear instruction, prepare opportunities for practice, and offer feedback.

Teachers need to maintain a positive attitude toward students. They can do so by taking care of themselves, keeping a positive and realistic view of student success, reflecting on their plans, and determining to interact positively with each student.  They should not take student misbehavior personally.  They may need to consult with colleagues about challenges (Sprick, 2006).

The effective teacher will be a praying teacher who applies the learning and practical application. She acts on her research and theories to teach well. His goal for students is that they “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ”, 2 Peter 3:18.

Professional development questions:

  1. How can you build positive relationships with your students?  What might interfere with making those teacher/student connections?
  2. Think of a teacher with whom you connected. What was it that enabled you to connect?

 

References

Beaty-O’Ferrall, M., Green, A., & Hanna, F. (2010).  Classroom management strategies for difficult students:  promoting change through relationships.  Middle School Journal (41)4. Retrieved from https://www.amle.org/Publications/MiddleSchoolJournal/Articles/ March2010/Article4/tabid/2149/Default.aspx

Marzano, R. (2003).  Classroom management that works.  Upper Saddle River:  Pearson

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, (2002).  What teachers should know and be able to do.  NBPTS.  Retrieved from https://www.nbpts.org/sites/default/files/documents/certificates/what_teachers_should_ know.pdf

Selig, G., Arroyo, A., Jordan, H., Baggaley, K., & Hunter, E. (2010).  Loving our differences for teachers.  Boston:  Pearson Learning Solutions

Sprick, R. (2006).  Discipline in the secondary classroom.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

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CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt

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