The BBC has a question for you: What makes a good teacher?
Their short answer is "I dunno," but the article does report what some experts in the field are thinking. It's not one's qualifications---the number of degrees you have or years of experience. Instead, the "best" teachers are ones who can build positive relationships with students, are reflective about their classroom work, and promote active engagement of the learner.
I know, I know, you're reading this and thinking "Duh." I am, too---and at the same time, when I ask myself this same question about what makes a good teacher, I'm not sure exactly what the answer is. We have lots of research out there, but is there truly a magic mix of attributes? Can we look at someone's characteristics and know for sure that they will be dynamite in the classroom?
I recently had an admin ask me "Are you a good teacher?" The question caught me off guard. Am I the best thing since Jaime Escalante in the classroom? Nope. Not even. I think I do all right in the classroom. I can't say that every day is successful and that every lesson reaches every kid and strikes all of the targets. I can say that I care about my students---both as human beings and learners. I'm interested in them as people and in helping them grow in their abilities. I can say that I make a conscious effort to plan lessons that provide more than one way to access the information...and try to use a variety of assessments to gauge what students can do. I want to find ways to help every kid and am frustrated when I can't. What did I tell the admin? I said that I did think I was a good teacher. When my students ask me why their other teachers don't teach like I do, I take that to mean I'm doing right by them. And that's all that should matter: Is what I do in the classroom good for kids? Do I have room for improvement? Definitely---and I'm okay with that.
What about you? What do you think makes a good teacher?