What Makes an Effective Teacher?
From the ages of five to eighteen, a student’s life is mainly focused on learning and absorbing more knowledge. But are students really getting the education they expect? Are their brains challenged enough or are they attaining too much school-related stress? The definition of an effective teacher is definitely not a straightforward answer, but there are more than enough student opinions to get a glimpse of what a student’s educational point of view is like in the present time.
Many teachers have graduated from UC Davis, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, and some even have Stanford or Harvard graduate degrees. They definitely know the content they are teaching, but some may not have the right attitude to help their pupils learn and grow. A Lynbrook High student shares her experience, stating that although her teacher went to Stanford, “that doesn’t mean she should treat us like little kids that don’t know anything.” The attitude not only affects the performance of the students, but “her condescending attitude towards us was rather hurtful.” Many other students that were asked about their experiences mentioned that it’s really difficult when teachers assume their lectures are understood and don’t spend time to review previous concepts.
A Junior from Issaquah High School adds that ineffective teachers definitely add to his level of stress, but “if there are teachers who are flexible with their teaching method unlike the ones that stick to ‘traditions,’ students and teachers could work together to create a better learning environment.” Many also state that if the teachers are “approachable and understanding,” it’s easier for both sides to communicate and learn. It is a given that teachers are human, and may not have answers to all questions that students bring out, but when teachers are “afraid to admit [their] mistakes,” it’s definitely not a plus, a student responds.
Moreover, in a school with a more competitive atmosphere, teachers and students alike are sometimes exposed to as much information they can in their brains. Yet most people feel that they don’t really learn something just by doing a teacher’s handouts or self-reading textbook pages. A Lynbrook student explains that “good teachers use the textbook and their own material.” A surprising amount of students brought up that if teachers tell stories, it helps the students feel more engaged in the classroom and that helps to connect textbook to real world.
Evidently, there will always be faults in education systems that aren’t easily fixed. However, the teacher’s genuine concern and passion for the student’s progress throughout the school year will definitely make a difference. Empathy for the student’s already busy schedule make it possible for students to balance their challenging courses and their teenage lives, and that is “truly caring about educating the next generation.”