I believe the criteria of a good teacher have been revealed to us in different ways since language teaching gained its popularity in the last century. Educationists and researchers from all over the world have been issuing many reports which explain what makes someone an outstanding teacher. As diversity exists in the world, there will also be many possible alternatives of defining a great teacher. Thus, it is obvious that the roles of a teacher have become more complicated with many challenges and demands. However, as a saying goes- ‘a rose by another name would smell as sweet’ [Shakespeare], the fundamental roles and characteristics of a good teacher will be the same, in my opinion.

One of the driving forces behind a good teacher is the persistent urge to upgrade oneself in both subject knowledge and technical skills such as teaching methods and approaches. Throughout the history, a number of teaching methods have been proposed especially in the United Kingdom and in the United States. If one fails to notice those teaching methods and approaches, it is not quite possible for him or her to be able to create an effective learning environment. Moreover, if one neglects to upgrade oneself in the background knowledge, he or she will be stuck in somewhere in the journey of the professional development. As a result, what fruitful results would be expected from the students learning under such a person?

After culminating the habit of upgrading oneself, a person who aims at being a good teacher should try to grasp the hidden aspects of the subject he or she is going to teach. I firmly believe that the frequent exposure of the respective lessons of the subject brings many benefits for a person who dreams of being a good teacher. Consequently, he or she will be able to deal with the potential problems that might appear in practical teaching. Otherwise, without comprehending the true concepts of the targeted subject, one tends to fall into the category of a technician who might face some difficulties in carrying out more demanding tasks: he or she will never be recoginsed proficient in the respective specilaisation.

Another aspect of being a good teacher lies in his or her commitment to the subject he is specialised in. Without a love of the subject he or she is going to teach, it is not possible to go extensively beyond the curriculum. As teaching means helping scholars prepare for the struggle of their lives, they should be properly trained by good teachers who devote most of their lives to the assigned subjects. Consequently, their subject matter will be of A1 quality and they will undoubtedly be able to help their scholars discover effectively the targeted goals. Thus, a genuine love of one’s specialisation should be listed as one of the factors that make someone a good teacher.

One of the secrets of being a great teacher revealed to us is that a good teacher knows his or her students’ learning styles. As students come from different society and have various learning experiences; naturally, they have their own preferred way of learning- visual, kinesthetics, auditory and so on. An experienced teacher wisely matches his or her teaching methods with students’ learning styles, resulting in successful outcome of learning. That’s why, knowing students’ types of learning styles should also be considered in the checklist of what makes a good teacher.

Besides knowing students’ learning styles, no one can deny that the roles of a teacher take a pivotal role in regarding someone a good teacher. It is observed that a big difference lies between the roles of a traditional teacher and those of a modern teacher. A conventional teacher mainly takes a role of lecturer and commander in class who likely to use a teacher-centred approach whilst another teacher understands a student-centred approach by taking different roles such as facilitator, counselor, actor and so forth. Undoubtedly, the latter will definitely build a good rapport between the teacher and students, resulting in desired goals.

 

 

Another crucial reminder for a person who wants to be a good teacher is preparation before he or she enters into a class. It is observed that a good teacher never fails to plan ahead: what he or she is going to teach, the purpose of the lessons, the anticipated problems and other necessary points.  Thus, some educationists use metaphors to claim that teacher are sometimes like hunters who need to take more than one bullet for hunting. Otherwise, they are likely to fail to hunt down their targeted animals. I believe the same application goes to a teacher in class: he or she should prepare more than one hook to make students engaged in targeted lessons.

Some people highlight that personality is to be considered as a good quality that makes someone a good teacher. Thus, it is vital for a teacher to have a squeaky clean personality in such a society. In some Asian countries, the status of a teacher is highly respected. For instance, a drug addict would be good at teaching but he would hardly build a learning environment of mutual respect. Teachers’ do-as-I-say policy will not work with students of the 21st century. Moreover, a good reputation is better than gold goes a saying. Thus, I presume that good character is highly preferred than intellect for a teacher.

The next attribute of a good teacher is counted on his or her self-evaluation which most teachers are claimed to neglect. In fact, teachers’ performance is evaluated by either their superiors or colleagues. Thus, it is interesting to observe that a good teacher tends to conduct self-assessment after every lesson in class. By doing so, he or she will notice the strength and the weakness on which a better analysis can be done to be able to create an active learning environment. That’s why, a person who wants a legacy of a good teacher should challenge himself or herself to carry out self-assessment on a regular basis.

Another vital requirement that cannot be left out is stress management. Teaching is said to be shaping a person’s life in every aspect like academic progress, social interaction, spiritual development and so on. Over time, it is natural for a person who does repeated routine and procedures will be stressed. If the tension is not removed earlier, the unfavorable consequences such as depression and negative thoughts will follow and get rooted inside, leading to hindrance in the professional development or in the academic performance. Obviously, stress management should be taken up by a person who wants to be a good teacher.

Interestingly, Harold B. Allen (1980) once offered a checklist of a good teacher including a competent preparation leading to a higher degree. Contrary to this point, it was discussed in a recent education forum that teachers with the highest qualifications are not automatically the best teachers in the classroom. In fact, those issues seem to remind people of analyzing the attributes of a good teacher.  It should be concluded that one attribute that work in one country will not work in somewhere else.

In conclusion, Galileo (1564-1642), a famous Italian scientist and astronomer, once said: “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.” This being so, the entire responsibility of a great teacher mainly relies on the person who strives to be a good teacher after the most fundamental characteristics and the most remarkable secrets of outstanding teachers have been revealed to him or her.

 

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I can catch five main points from your post.

1. To upgrade oneself ever

2. Student-centered approach

3. Preparation before teaching

4. Self-evaluation

5. Stress management

I think, among above all student-centered approach is the most of vital important.

Dear Si Thu Aung,

Thank you for the precise summary and the profound discussion.

I didn't mean anything special in my comment.

I just expressed my opinion.

Thanks for saying so too!

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