blast from the past

I was clicking through my blog today and found myself wishing I had something to write about. Then, this little tidbit just happened to fall into my lap. And here I am, in my glory, blogging. Happy to be back!

My sister is in her Grade 12 year and is hoping to also come to the University of Regina to take Elementary Education (she has good taste, don’t you think?). She is starting to think about university applications and has asked me for some guidance through the process, as I have actually experienced this before (albeit a few years ago – wow, they flew by!).

These events in her life got me thinking back to when I applied into the Faculty of Education and the application I submitted. I distinctly remember there being a section of the application that was more of an essay style and I answered the question of what qualities a good teacher possessed. A quick search into the archives of my computer’s documents unearthed this… (please excuse my Grade 12 self’s omission of the Oxford comma – cringe!)

What makes a good teacher: what are the skills, traits and characteristics possessed by a good teacher and why these?

The traits that one must possess in order to be a good teacher seem rather obvious, don’t they? Ask a Grade one student and they can easily tell you that teachers need to be patient, kind and helpful. Even though they are young, that student would be 100% right. Everyone knows that teachers require organization, creativity and a love for kids. However, instead of these more obvious characteristics, I will go over some less often thought of attributes.

Teachers need to be adaptable. Every student has their own way of learning and if a teacher is open to trying new techniques, they can ensure they are meeting every student’s needs. Not only do teachers need to be flexible regarding their lessons, they have to be able to fill different roles. Depending on the situation, a teacher may have to play the part of a friend, disciplinarian, nurse, referee, janitor or entertainer. A good teacher is not just a teacher. 

Kids need their learning environments to not only be educational, but also creative and fun. This is why teachers need to be a child at heart. Besides allowing them to relate to their students, it is the key to being able to keep up with the nonstop activity of an elementary classroom. An energetic and ambitious teacher has the ability to inspire a classroom full of students to have a lifelong positive attitude towards education. 

Teachers must have appreciation of ‘the little things.’ To most people, a crayon drawing isn’t anything spectacular, but in the eyes of a teacher, it shows potential and imagination. Teachers praise students every little step of the way. The joy of a moment when a student finally grasps a new concept is unlike any other.

 Perhaps the quality I admire most, however, is the genuine passion that teachers have for not only their craft, but also for the students that they are involved with every day. The teachers that stand out most in my mind are those who truly care about their students. This is the kind of teacher that I strive to be one day.

I have learned so much during my time at the University of Regina, and I often forget exactly what I thought it meant to be a  teacher at the beginning of my degree. This little peek into my pre-university opinions of education are quite a little treat! If I had to rewrite this essay today, I’m sure it would include some education jargon and qualities like equitable, inclusive, and accepting of diversity. But the merit of what I wrote 3 years ago (THREE?!?! THREE!!!) cannot be overlooked, either. I still think it is true that good teachers should be adaptable (to student learning styles and abilities – differentiation, differentiation, differentiation! See what I mean about education jargon?), children at heart, appreciative of little things, and passionate.

As I continue to transform into a professional (especially during my pre-internship year), I think it is still important to keep in mind what students think about educators. As a student who had a dream of being a teacher, this is what I thought was vital to success. So what do you think students will be thinking about when they are sizing you up as a teacher? Certainly not your ability to hit all of the curriculum’s indicators! They will be happy to know that you appreciate their work and can get down on their level and just have fun. Something to keep in mind 🙂


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