We all have a favorite teacher that comes to mind when reflecting on our school days. It may be the teacher who had patience with you when you forgot your homework or lunch money or the teacher that took the time to visit with you about “stuff” because they could tell you were worried about something. Those favorite memories are probably less related to the actual learning that took place and more about the way the teacher made you feel and cared about you as a person. While it’s impossible to recognize all of the attributes that quality teachers possess, a few should be noted.
Quality teachers have three things in common: they build relationships with students, collaborate with others, and help students develop their problem solving skills. Teachers who have these skills have a greater likelihood of assisting children in finding success well into adulthood for the following reasons.
Relationships are essential for success in the workplace. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to go to work every day and be greeted at the door by a boss with a smile and wishes for a great day? How productive would the workday become? Quality teachers are masterful at realizing that the simple gesture of purposefully greeting students at the door with a smile and caring comment can make or break a day; and modeling this for students sets an example they can use later in life.
Quality teachers collaborate with their peers to master their art. Teachers know the content of what they are teaching but they are continually refining their knowledge and delivery to ensure that all students learn. Being reflective and mastering skills is essential for achievement in the classroom as well as the workplace. Students often witness this collaboration in the classroom.
Quality teachers problem solve with students to help them develop the necessary skills for decision- making. Through the problem solving process, students learn how to make wise decisions that will benefit them in their learning and also gain wisdom in making character-based decisions. Teachers also problem solve with all members of the school community to ensure that every child has the best educational learning opportunities.
Quality teachers contribute so much to the development of children who will one day need to build relationships, collaborate with their colleagues, and problem solve at work themselves. These are but a few of the skills that quality teachers exhibit without even knowing they are modeling them for their students. Quality teachers are masterful at their art!
Julie Davies is the Director of Educational Services with Area Education Agency 267 (AEA 267) based in Cedar Falls. The agency serves over 60,000 students. In addition, over 5,000 educators rely on AEA 267 for services in special education, school technology, media and instructional/curriculum support. The agency’s service area reaches 18 counties and nearly 9,000 square miles.