Teaching calls for a set of distinctive abilities that combine the teacher’s academic knowledge and communication skills with empathy and the ability to motivate students. While measuring student grades may be one of the modes of evaluating a teacher’s performance, it does not provide a complete picture of the teacher’s capability. To assess the strengths and weaknesses of a teacher, consider several other aspects that are part of the teacher’s job.
What a teacher explains has a major impact on how students understand concepts. Therefore, teachers need be competent in their knowledge of the subject they teach. This applies equally to all subject teachers but is especially critical for those who handle subjects such as English, mathematics and science, where an erroneous understanding of one concept can lead to faulty comprehension of other concepts based on it. Besides, teachers with a strong grasp of the subject are in a better position to answer student queries with confidence and accuracy.
Teachers need to use a technique that educates students even as it keeps them engaged. Along with the ability to explain well, teachers also require the ability to punctuate teaching sessions with questions that probe and encourage student interaction. A teacher who uses audio-visual aids, computer technology, activities and games to supplement the oral explanation manages to effectively engage student attention. Well-thought-out lesson plans and opportunities for guided and independent practice of concepts are also part of effective teaching strategies.
Effective learning requires an atmosphere of relative calm during explanation and practice sessions. It is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that students’ behavior in the classroom promotes such an atmosphere. Teachers need to schedule activities that keep students busy, monitor noise levels and discipline unruly behavior. A fair and impartial approach, a gentle but firm manner of handling disobedience, supportive criticism, respect for students and being approachable are important qualities that help teachers in classroom management.
Teachers don’t just teach, they also monitor the ability of their students to grasp and apply concepts. They should be able to identify the academic difficulties that students face and modify their teaching methods to help students overcome such difficulties. Through an enthusiastic and vibrant approach that provides intellectual stimulation, teachers can motivate students to study well and also stretch beyond their comfort zones during the learning process.
Attitude and Interactions
During the course of their work, teachers need to coordinate activities with other teachers, the school administrative staff and the principal. Teachers, therefore, need to be good team workers who willingly and enthusiastically participate in school activities and take responsibilities. They require good communication skills to interact, not just with students and school staff, but also with parents. Besides adherence to professional ethics and school standards, teachers should also have a strong personal value system that serves as a role model to students.
Hailing out of Pittsburgh, Pa., David Stewart has been writing articles since 2004, specializing in consumer-oriented pieces. He holds an associate degree in specialized technology from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute.