10 characteristics of good teachers
Yesterday I read a lot about potential side hustles, and many people mentioned creating courses as a way to develop an income stream online. This got me thinking about teachers and how memorable both good and bad teachers are. I've had the pleasure of benefitting from some great teachers over the years, and here are a few characteristics I find good teachers embody.
NB. This list is probably most relevant for teachers of novices. Although, that makes me wonder - are there really "teachers" of experts? When a person has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge on a subject, I guess they stop needing a teacher and start looking for a guide (or they become an autodidact).
1. Good teachers can see things from a student's perspective
Good teachers make an effort to know their students and what they know, don't know, and should know. This can help them cater their content.
2. Good teachers have a good understanding of the fundamentals
They say that the best way to determine if you've mastered a subject is to try explaining it to a 5-year-old. This is easier said than done, of course.
3. Good teachers don't assume
Instead of assuming their students know certain things, I find that good teachers provide context for their comments and make an effort to start off with a shared understanding.
4. Good teachers make their points simply and clearly
Trying to avoid jargon and teaching in a way that non-experts can understand is key.
5. Many good teachers are good listeners too
Much of teaching is about sharing understanding. A teacher might be a subject matter expert, but if they're not taking the time to ensure their students are following along, their success is limited.
6. Great teachers can inspire something in their students
Conveying information and being comprehensible is one thing, but making students feel involved and implicated is the next step in making them connect with the material.
7. Good teachers care
I'm not sure why this point came to me so late in the list, because I think it's critical. Good teachers have to care about their students and the material they're teaching. Otherwise, it can be hard for students to see the importance of learning.
8. Good teachers invite questions and try to make learning interactive
People learn in different ways, and many students really understand concepts when the put them into play.
9. Good teachers are willing to be challenged
This often means having enough confidence and humility to encourage skepticism and dialogue.
10. Good teachers are constantly learning
They care about updating their perspectives and staying current.