In this week’s notes, I decided to observe the behavior of teachers. I wanted to find out what makes a good teacher. I’ve had many amazing teachers and wanted to see why I had this interpretation.
For this project, I observed a teacher who is a favorite among my peers. For context, this teacher teaches an AP class. For privacy issues, I will refer to this teacher as “the teacher” and use the pronoun “their.” Right off the bat, I noticed that this particular teacher is well organized and observant. The teacher effectively plans the day and has all files ready in advance. Not only that, but this teacher can gauge the atmosphere of the students’ feelings. For example, when students feel sleepy on a Friday afternoon, the teacher makes all students take a five-minute stretch break.
A good teacher will also keep their students slightly on edge. Doing so will mentally challenge students and result in a more productive session. From what I observed, the teacher in question will either raise their voice or violently slam their hand on a wooden podium. A drastic change in dynamic will instantly garner the attention of the students. Another attention-grabbing method that this teacher uses is what I call the “subtle threat.” If a student’s homework or performance is lacking, the teacher will provide a warning. If the student has a second warning, all students will get additional homework. However, because of peer pressure, this usually does not happen.
The final aspect that I noticed while observing this teacher is their ability to sympathize and communicate. This trait, in my opinion, is what truly makes an amazing teacher. It is evident that this teacher cares about their students. An example could be answering emails in a timely manner (this teacher, for some reason, can answer in under 10 minutes!). Teachers, like this one in particular, foster a connection between students by connecting with them on a personal level. They make students laugh and make learning enjoyable (or in some cases, bearable because of the teacher).
Above all, a good teacher is someone who wants their student to succeed. I find that the quality of learning is not only because of the efforts of the students, but also by the efforts of the teacher. To put it from an anthropological standpoint, teachers develop a society in which students learn. How they learn depends on the teacher-created society. It is the teacher that creates the ultimate learning experience.
These are my observations on this particular teacher, and I hope you enjoy!