Great educators develop through personal experience while educating and learning from the social circle of higher level educators. When my mind reflects on effective educators, characteristics and qualities arise such as approachability, attentiveness, and insight. We always hear a teacher in the classroom say, “No question is a bad question.” I feel students will not ask questions if they are not comfortable within the classroom or with the teacher. A student being comfortable with approaching the teacher leads to questions being answered and respect being earned in both directions.
Attentiveness supports the characteristic of approachability. Effective educators notice when a student is sick, uncomfortable, absentminded, clumsy, or can see the most important cue when, “the light bulb did not turn on.” Noticing when a student is struggling then making the move to fix the problem is imperative.
A clear understanding of what is actually being accomplished or not being accomplished is also very important. On-going assessment of skills is essential for the measuring student understanding. This is developed through review of the curriculum outcomes, lesson planning based upon those learning outcomes and presenting the information in an engaging manner. It is key that the teacher then reflects upon the level of student understanding. Personal reflection and professional observations can help a teacher maximize effectiveness.
The three characteristics above serve as an inclusive umbrella for the qualities of an effective educator. Students being socially and personally comfortable within a classroom will result in less hesitation to ask for help. The ability to recognize when students are uncomfortable or struggling with material leads to an educators ability to rethink their instruction and adjust accordingly. Finally, this ability to reflect on and improve lesson plans based upon feedback that has indicated the students’ level of understanding is key to mastering the skills that make a teacher effective.