Teachers: what it takes to be great

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By Faith Evans

Illustration by Faith Evans
Illustration by Faith Evans

The state of Nevada has set progress goals for their students based on grade levels, and they have given their teachers instructional standards for class time, but it feels like the students have been left out of the loop here. The pupils have valuable input as to how a teachers should act to successfully run a classroom while keeping instructional time interesting but educational.

The base foundation for great educators rests on teachers knowing their subjects and teaching with passion. Students regret coming to class when they feel time is being wasted by an inexperienced or dull instructor. Liven up, teacher’s excitement is often reflected by the students, and a teacher’s extensive knowledge of their subject will help classes go off without a hitch by eliminating time wasted on questions with unknown answers.

Teachers also must be organized. It takes a boatload of stress off the student’s shoulders if they don’t have to worry about that final essay getting lost after it reaches the turn-in basket. Unorganized teachers carry an air of unprofessionalism, and students feel more responsible for finding and correcting an unorganized teacher’s’ gradebook mistakes. This is unacceptable. Organization helps classes run more smoothly, and the teacher-student relationship is more trusting.

A trustworthy teacher opens doors in the learning environment. Students feel like they always have someone in their corner when they have a teacher that they know they can run to in case of emergencies, problems, and even straight up bad days. They’ll feel more of a connection with that teacher, and in turn will care more about what their instructor has to say in and out of class.

As the cherry to top off the ice cream, instructors should know students on a friendly, more personal level. This could be as simple as knowing that Jim-Bob got a haircut or as complex as making sure to ask Suzie-Lou how she did after each bowling match. Students feel more important and cared for when teachers show interest in their lives outside their class periods. In return, they will be more apt to pay attention in class, or at least show some more respect and pretend to be listening to that fifty slide power point.

As a sad but true disclaimer, teachers should know that no matter how exciting, organized, and friendly they are, the learning process is a mutual relationship, and every year there will be one or two students whom they will never be able to reach or influence in any way. It takes some respect and responsibility on the student’s part to create a successful learning environment, and there will always be that one kid who refuses to honor the schooling system in any way.

Becoming a great educator is not an easy task, and student success is in direct correlation to teachers’ success while instructing. It takes a lot of hard work to be truly great, but seeing pupils move on to higher levels of education and join the workforce is the ultimate reward.