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What qualities make an excellent teacher?

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      22.07.2010 11:15
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      School warehousing is back

      If you're in teaching I suspect you already know you will be one of the public services hit hardest by Prime Minister Cameron's new plans for big savings, the so-called " Big Society" really just a cover for huge cuts, and if volunteers don't do the work then it just wont get done. It's no coincidence he has announced the cancellation of the bulk of New Labours rather lavish £55 billion pound secondary schools refurbishment scheme just two weeks after his coalition pushed for the so-called 'free schools' and the building of yet more academies, a big step towards increased privatisation in the education system by the looks. Academies allow for some selection of pupils and the free schools will allow the charity or company that own the school to pick their kids, the parents on the boards helping to make decisions on running those schools presumably the kids that get the places. This is the Holy Grail for middle-class parents as it means they can finally send their kids to inner city schools that are free of the underclass that corrode and then destroy comprehensive education in the big cities. Austerity wise its clearly far cheaper to 'do up' a non selective school than build these flash academies yet the Tories want to repay their core vote with schools that, to put it bluntly, don't have naughty Caribbean boys and white chavs in them. It's also no surprise that the academies expecting money from the £55 billion programme will still be getting it.

      But teachers and school in my day where shabby affairs, the schools just as patched up as the old lefties tweed suits elbows. Schools educated people in their local catchments areas back then and so end of, and it was tough if that meant you had more than your fair share of rowdy working-class lads in your local school. Organised middle-class parents diddled the 11 plus and got their kids into the local grammar, where as the worker's sprogs had to take their chances in the state system. Just one-in-eight school levers went on to university in the 70s and 80s and most of those were the posh kids. Secondary Moderns churned out factory fodder and admin assistants and you were on your own matey. Some teachers tried to inspire when they saw a glint of interest in the eyes of their kids that weren't going to excel in life, but those kids would get that hope quickly knocked out of them at home when dad came home from a hard days work in those factories and took it out on their kids for his school failures twenty to thirty years before. That kid was me and many of you.

      Lower and middle-school was more my thing, where you did enjoy lessons to some extent, geography and English my subjects. Maths made no sense or point to me, especially when you start adding up and dividing letters, which I now know as algorithms. How can A + B not equal C? I must admit my English skills did go adrift mid- schooling and I put that down to one useless teacher who for some unknown reason put me in the remedial English class at lower school. I was brilliant at reading and mum would read to me every night and I would show off in class when we did reading from the board and the provided books. I don't think my teacher liked my 'enthusiasm' and so incredibly knocked me down into the 'special class' as there wasn't a class going the other way. In primary school I had poems on the wall pal! I was a contender when I wrote in little letters with crayons at nursery school mate. I suppose my latter love of writing and rampant need to get crowns comes from that need to prove myself since that dreadful day (I know, some think I haven't improved since the crayons).

      There are many reasons why boys and girls do well in certain classes with certain teachers and often it's because we fancy the teacher. I really liked Mrs Garland who taught me geography and from the day I set eyes on her it became my number one subject at school. She wasn't gorgeous, I recall, but just nice and she had those big glasses Ken Barlow's wife had around the time on Coronation Street. I was in the top class in middle-school for Geography and up against the years big three of James Kirwan (his mum taught three sciences at the school), Tim Rice (not that one) and Dean Hadkins. All were destined for Oxbridge and topped all the tests in all the subjects...until one day in June when yours truly came top of the class by a full 5% with a pass mark of 85%! James started crying whilst the other two pondered their challenger and then just as quickly dismissed the threat. They were correct. But it was my best day ever in school for sure. If you want to know about clouds and precipitation then I'm your man! But with google anyone can get any mark and pass any test, education just by-the-numbers processing to secure future funding by a good league table position, teachers teaching the answers and facts, not the meaning of facts and the point of the questions. I'm pretty sure they still fancy their teachers though.

      Mrs Brown (not her real name), our female sports teacher, was another one I and many other lads in my year had a serious liking to, a young and flexible lady at the best of times, her whistle bouncing between her firm breasts. She was the only reason to go to PE and the boys would fantasise that if we were to forget our kit we would have to change into those dreadful and often unwashed spare vests and shorts in her office. Being naked in front of her was a wonderful thought, until we saw a lady pick her up after school and snog her. School was always about broken dreams.

      I, like you guys, had many more bad teachers of course, Mr Barford for music a real sadist. Music lesson were anything but Glee in those days and involved you being taught about Beethoven and the like with those squiggly music things chalked up on a 'green' blackboard, before teacher played some dreadful flamenco guitar to you. The posh kid in class would bring his own guitar and they would duet away, meaning we all sniggered, meaning out comes Mr Barford's huge dusty book, which he would walk around to the back of the class and slam it on to the heads of the kids who were still giggling. A huge cloud of dust would make the kid next to them choke....'''Bang'. Choking was giggling to Barford.

      Mr Murphy was our head of the sports department and Deputy Head Master, a real disciplinarian from the Welsh Valleys. He was obsessed with getting each form and year to sing hymns in assembly, schools most anachronistic of habits. As you all know the youngest kids at the front sing away but as the kids get older as you go back the singing fizzles out to nothing by the time you got to the fifth formers. Ok, after five points I would sing 'Jerusalem' at the cricket but back then we hated singing songs. But in general I didn't like my teachers much and a state education in the 70s and 80s did not inspire many from my upper working-class background to go on to sixth form and university. Boring teachers means boring schools and the fact only 17 teachers have been sacked in 40 years in England does not surprise me at all...

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        11.03.2010 12:17
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        Would i be a good teacher?

        This is a subject that particularly interests me as i want to be a teacher myself. However i have made a choice to gain some life experience before i go for a career in teaching. I believe that the education system is lacking teachers with good life experience. I was very fond of business studies whilst in school, my teacher was 20-something who had only ever worked in a factory whilst at university then went on to teach. What could i learn, yes i got the text book knowledge but she couldn't give us examples and real-life stories, she was not engaging.
        I feel a great teacher is somebody who can speak of their life and captivate their students in their stories and teachings with the way that they tell their tale. Or somebody who can elaborate and explain from their experience as opposed to straight out of a text book.
        What i hated at school was teachers who were without doubt going through personal problems, coming straight into a class room with threats and shouts. This behaviour is uncalled for, being an autocratic leader is disrespectful. I feel a good teacher has respect for the children they teach. Those young children could one day be the doctors that save your life. Or the dentist who didn't give you enough funny gas because you were a b*tch in the class room.
        I had a great teacher for religious studies. He treated every student as a friend, if a person misbehaved they were dealt with. But he gave every student the same amount of respect, he never shouted or threatened the class. I learnt more from him than any other teacher.

        Myself personally I am exploring before i go into my dream career. I currently work for one of the worlds largest banking organisations, and am gaining knowledge and experience i never thought i would ever have. I cannot wait to pass on my new found skills to my business students, i want to prepare them for the real world in a way that i was not. I think that mixed with respect for the children, and great examples and understanding of what i teach would make me a great teacher.

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          02.03.2010 19:47
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          Teaching is 75% "Inspiration" 25% "Information"

          Whenever I put my hand up in my classroom, it was usually to ask whether I could relieve myself. I would then do so without detection. It was a military operation and quite frankly it was frowned upon if you were found cavorting outside class times. Caning was an option for teachers and was frequently used in front of the classroom, like a performance piece, big metal rulers, bendy wooden rulers, take your weapon. Pupils would have to endure the spectacle as the Teacher practices their swing like a golf shot, before teeing off, with aghast from the audience. You could here a pin drop after the swipe had connected with a gush and a small yelp. This wasn't that long ago either. I look upon that time rather fondly; weird really as discipline seemed to over power the attention seekers and calm was always one sharp smack on the table away. Only once, did I witness a fellow pupil hit back at a Teacher, he was immediately expelled; it was made worse because it was during a Religious Education class. Two weeks instead of one week suspension. Now youngsters run the roost in classroom antics, berating each other and distracted by portable devices such as mobile phones and MP3 Players.

          Naturally my youthful charades did cater for myriad stupidities, gluing chalk onto a blackboard. Melting Mars bars on a Bunsen Burner. Pea shooting bits of paper out of a Bic pen aiming at the Teachers coffee; that was my favourite. I had a good aim. I felt my parents were paying for the coffee with their taxes, so they shouldn't complain. It was quite a performance. Teaching was nearly always interrupted by a fire drill or a NUT strike. Why the union called themselves 'NUT' tickled my creativity somewhat. By having living ancestors who were conscientious Teachers who made subject interesting and exciting, I didn't care much for the teaching practices that my parents were paying for. Reading out of a curriculum styled text book in a croaky morose tone, didn't inspire me, enthuse me; it bored the pants off me. Hence, why leaving the classroom was a clause to save my sanity and worth the risk of being caught and pulled by the ear by the Headmaster back to the moronic droll of Curriculum reading. At least the tingly red ear temporary helped with the boredom factor.

          Teachers have a pretty raw deal compared to my school days of recklessness followed by discipline without fail. It was part of the parcel and I was unaware of any 'Political Correctness' that pupils today know far too much about, the same with their rights. I hasten to add that the casual brutalities meted out by teachers was suited for it's time and place. They certainly warranted an audience and always got absolute quietness thereafter any event. However, when you've taken my experiences and now put them into the classroom arena the perpetrator ie 'the teacher' is reprimanded and sent to Coventry without a phrase book. They would be struck off the teaching register. So the imbalance today is notably incorrect for a teaching environment, I generally feel sorry for our present teachers who've sadly chosen a profession that does not command respect from anyone, that includes the Police, Social Services Departments, Education Authorities; and most definitely the parents. No wonder they've got to advertise the profession on mainstream TV to get some poor sods to take up the offer.

          You don't have to be a special person to teach today, but it helps if you're a door mat. That is the main criteria for being a good teacher, to even survive the avalanche of verbal abuse. I heard by an associate who claimed his Sister who was a teacher at the time had endured the kind of mental torture that was more suited in Guatanamo Bay. You have no friends, apparently you have to watch your back at all times. You're constantly under supervision by the authorities, at every angle, ready to jump on you. The unions are also absolutely useless when it comes to individual cases, and it is up to you personally to rig your own legal team.

          What made me realise that the Prime Minister Gordon Brown is completely out of touch was when last year he announced he has a desire to be a history teacher, some day. Lets hope if he does reach the dizzy heights of 'history teaching', new disciplinary measures will be in-place to aide Gordon with his Scottish 'drop jaw' enthusiasm and charm along with his bullying tendencies, he wouldn't last a day, with today's throat strangling conditions.

          The term 'thick skinned' is used frequently in the role of being a teacher. Hardly sells itself does it. At no point does the term 'got to like children' is ever mentioned on that media tripe of an advert for teaching. The only thing I can remember is the 35K salary; the type of members of society who will get duped into the profession is obviously the members of public who views 35K is a lot and yes I can still have my summer holidays and long Easter breaks, basically it will appeal to a 'Cheltenham Average' a 'CHAV'. It looks as if the advert has already circulated going by the report Ofsted has published.

          You can view it online by simply going via Google and search for "Ofsted". The report is based on over 40,000 inspections. The main substance of the report underlines the poor quality of teaching that has descended in the UK. Ofsted claims -

          "School improvement in England is being held back by a "stubborn core of inadequate teaching", says the annual report of education watchdog Ofsted.

          Looks like the CHAV styled media advertising is getting through; or just maybe it is due to the irregular 'tardis conditions' teachers have to endure, their lack lustre demeanour that embodies them like an old sack of potatoes waiting to sprout wings and fly out of the frying pan, is so evident. - I'm aware that teaching is a tough occupation at the best of times but the profession doesn't help them-selves. It isn't about hard-lined 'commitment' and 'duty'. That is the wrong mindset to take on-board. By embracing those words alone, you're not going to engage with your audience with any inspiration, knowledge also, but knowledge is useless if you cannot convey it to your audience. It is ironic that Gordon Brown relishes at being a history teacher some day, because his weakness isn't his knowledge but how he conveys the knowledge to his audience.

          My Grand Mother use to say Teaching is 75% "Inspiration" 25% "Information". Her education theories and stories are legendary and so were her Mother's and Uncles. I was fortunate, to have started my education while I was at University. The best educators were those who lived their subject exhumed an air of exhilaration with real awe when they convey ideas and then only then can you start to learn.

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            12.12.2009 00:23
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            Postives definitely outweigh the negatives.

            Being a teacher is probably one of the most rewarding but challenging careers you could possibly choose to go into...for anyone considering going into it....go into it with your eyes open but I'd definitely recommend it.

            Working with a classroom of demanding children can be both physically and emotionally draining, you need the patience of a saint, you can't afford the luxury of having a 'bad day' at the office - you are constantly on stage and are the role model to so many young people.

            Your evenings are spent lesson planning, creating resources to use in the classroom, making costumes for the christmas play, stressing over the forthcoming school inspection and marking homework.

            You spend your own money on buying 'extras' that the school budget can't stretch to, and your coffee breaks tidying up after the last lesson and preparing for the next.

            Despite all of this and so much more, being a teacher is the most wonderful job in the world, each day is different and brings it's rewards.

            What qualities make an excellent teacher?

            You need to be patient, when after explaining something five times, it still doesn't seem to have sunken in.

            You need to be motivational and inspire the pupil that is reluctant to learn, finding an alternative way to encourage them.

            You need to be caring and sensitive to the pupil that is shy or has low self-esteem.

            You need to be in control of an unruly class.

            You need to have confidence to talk to parents about their children, which is especially hard when you are telling them that their beloved son/daughter has hit another child or has been disruptive in class.

            And above all this, if you teach in a primary school like me, you'll be a hit with the kids if you have a sense of humour and are not afraid to make a fool of yourself.

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            26.02.2009 22:31
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            I hope these tips are helpful to aspiring teachers

            I will always remember my high school English teacher Mr Hackett as the best teacher I have ever had. He was an incredibly intelligent, witty, inspiring and fun-loving man and I think it is because of his influence that I have such a love of literature to this day. It's difficult to capture exacty what it was about him which so changed my experience of learning but in this review I hope to pinpoint a few of the qualities which he and other great teachers had that made such an impact on my education and lead me to continue studying to MA level.

            KNOW YOUR STUFF:
            There is nothing worse than a teacher who doesn't know their subject and just teach what they are given. I appreciate that teachers have a heavy workload and they may not be experts on everything they teach but spending as much time as possible getting to know what you are teaching really makes a difference. I would imagine it would make controlling a class either as I have seen supply teachers ripped apart by classes of unruly kids who have spotted this weakness

            BE AUTHORITATIVE:
            Mr Hackett was that rare breed of eccentric English gent that commanded authority without ever shouting. Sometimes you can do more with a look than with volume. If you set a precedent of being too flexible with the rules, you won't keep control of the class so don't make empty threats of detention if you aren't prepared to follow them up. Also, don't try to be the best mate of the kids you teach, they won't respect you for it.

            DON'T BE CONDESCENDING:
            As well as Mr Hackett, I also had Miss Donnellan for English. She was the opposite of Mr Hackett: snobby, condescending, lacking in knowledge, unable to control a class and a bit apathetic. She acted like she was so much better than us for having been to university and would often make sarcastic comments about our fellow classmates to the whole class. She switched between trying to be one of us and trying to be a strict teacher and it just didn't work. Her attitude towards us made it difficult for us to trust her as a teacher and so no-one would go to her if they had a problem and would speak to another teacher instead which earned her a poor reputation amongst teachers in the department.

            BE ORIGINAL:
            I think this is one of the most difficult but most important aspects of a good teacher. Try to find new ways of conveying the information demanded by the curriculum. This way, it will stick in your students' minds and they will remember you for a long time. I still remember Mr Hackett throwing imaginary spears at people as we read Lord of the Flies.

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              19.05.2008 22:40
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              Listen to the pupils, and the puils will listen to you!

              You would expect to hear a review of this sort, from someone high in authority or experienced in education. But, today, you are going to hear the thoughts and opinions from someone who works with teachers near enough everyday of her life though her childhood; a pupil. Surely, everyone, has spent their childhood dealing with the stress and pressure of teachers. But the difference with myself, is, I am still working alongside with them. Since I am close to leaving school, I have had plenty of experience. I now see how great teachers have been in the past, and also they could have improved their teaching methods, to help me.

              Here is the following, in any random order, some things I think are important when it comes to teaching.

              1. Experience is not everything!
              Every time, in the past, I have ever had an issue with a teacher, I always get the same response. "I have been teaching for many years, I think I should know". I despise teachers who use this phrase, with a vengeance. Sometimes, I feel as if the older teachers know less, than more. It is as if their head is still floating in the past, to when they disciplined children with the belt! Over the years, teaching methods have changed, new rights and rules have been created, and universities are teaching, teachers, in a whole new way. Perhaps, because they have been teaching for so long, they have missed out on all the new stuff, ignored all the modern methods, and still kept the same routine of teaching as they have in the 70's. I always find, that the young student teachers are willing to adapt to the new ways of teaching, happy to learn from pupils, and in return, the pupils are happy to learn from them. This is not the case with older, more "experienced" teachers. I must admit, not all, but most of the older teachers refuse to learn new and modern things, certain, that their methods have worked for years, and years, so they should work now. Also, another problem I find with older teachers, is the discipline. Having the privilege of the belt removed, probably made teaching a hell of a lot more difficult for teachers. As my father told me, the belt was used for anything, even for dropping a pencil. We all know, that there's no way anyone would get punished for that nowadays. Or would they? Perhaps, teachers didn't get the whole idea that you have a little less strict, and, as a result, discipline children for things they do not deserve to be disciplined for, this is very confusing for children, and as a result may cause distress and anger in a child. So, in conclusion, some older teachers may be slightly immature, in the way that they refuse to teach the modern way, because, they hate the idea of being wrong. I think this is very immature! How can an immature teacher teach others to be mature? And trust me, this does happen!

              2. Put a bloody smile on that coopin, hen.
              This is probably the most important part of teaching. Personality! For example, one teacher is a really pleasant, nice, and soft hearted. She has a great talent of interacting with pupils, speaking the language of pupils, for example, discussing boyfriends with girls whilst not teaching. Or discussing last nights football score with the boys. Most of all, she always smiles! It's really pleasant to be working with pleasant people! Could you image working with people who never smiled, were always dry, and very unsociable! How bored would you be! Well, this is the case with children. If a teacher fails to socialise properly with children, they are likely to get very bored! At this present moment, in Home Economics, our form is being taught by a student. This student, isn't the smiley, talkative, socialising student you would expect! She is the teacher who won't smile, doesn't even say as much as a hello, puts the ingredients on the main table, and says "right, start cooking!". It makes you feel really depressed, and you simply don't enjoy the subject, when your teacher is like this. And when you don't enjoy the subject, you don't learn anything. It is very true! There is no way, on earth, you can be good at something you don't enjoy! So, in conclusion, it's important to have a lot of personality when teaching, you should interact with your pupils, and discuss things other than grades! Of course, only when it's appropriate.

              3. Keeping it balanced.
              Okay, I will admit, the teacher I described in the previous paragraph (the good one), isn't the best type of teacher! She is very soft hearted, and has no idea about discipline. My favourite teacher, probably has to be my physics teacher! She has all the qualities as described above, but she knows when to put her foot down. Its very important for teachers to have a healthy balance. One one side, being nice, friendly, talkative, and on the other side, strict and stubborn. The strict and stubborn teachers, will, get results! But these teachers don't care how they get the results; as long as they have got them! Once again, this is distressing and depressing for pupils. Being a nice and friendly person, but using discipline when you need to, gets the best results! Meaning, everyone is happy, both ways.

              4. Equality
              When a pupil blames a teacher of being unfair, why do people suddenly assume it's the immature adolescents doing, and not the teachers! I always thought, there's no such thing as a teacher that hates you for person reasons, it's just all the naughty people that hate them because they don't get their own way. I believed this for many years, until I got a fair taste of experience, myself. My physical education teacher, a few years ago, hated me! No, I wasn't just a stubborn little adolescent that didn't get her own way! I was just someone who expressed their opinion and stood up for rights, and equality! In return, I was hit with 2 years of criticism and grief. One day, the whole class was made to run 5 times round the school. After three times of running, I asked for permission to stop as I hadn't brought my inhaler. He refused to let me stop as I hasn't brought an inhaler, basically, doubting my illness. I was forced to keep running round the school. Eventually, I was lying on the ground struggling to breathing, having an asthma attack in other words. After I had calmed down, I completed my laps around the school, of course, when I had stopped I was being literally shouted at for not putting enough effort in. I tried explaining I was on the ground, dying, but it didn't work. I was detained that day. However, three minutes afterwards, a girl came round. She was questioned why she was late, and her reply was "sorry, Im asthmatic". And the teachers reply was "Ok, dear. You just have a rest for now". Was this fair? The girl wasn't even asthmatic! She has stopped to start snogging her boyfriend behind the bike shed. And I was lying on the ground, in pieces?! Is this equality? Were me and Lauren being treated equally? Another example, was also in my younger school years. French, this was. Now this teacher, is a low-life, old, naggy teacher, whom nobody learns from because of this. There was a boy in my class, attention seeking, fat, ugly, and annoying! That sounded pretty mean, but I was bullied from him in primary years, I have very right to be mean. If this boy, Sean, was to shout a cheeky remark out to the teacher, he would be told to be quiet. However, I imagined another boy in my form shouting out the same thing, he would be shouted at, detained, referred and punished. This is just a simple example of inequality, these days!

              5. Understanding, listening, and discussing.
              Sometimes, I wish teachers would listen to what you have to say. Sometimes, they purposely put you down because they know they have authority over you. If you are having a problem, sometimes they just repeat what the given task is, and walk away. Then, two minutes later, if you are still having difficulties, your not "trying". There's nothing more frustrating when you are being accused of not trying when your trying your hardest. You feel redundant, left out, and disowned. Teachers have to start 1. listen to the problem. Teachers think they can listen to the first three words of your problem, and start explaining what is happening. But sometimes, they get the wrong idea, and their response is "did you just listen to a word I said". And you feeling like saying "yes, did listen to a word you said, actually, I listened to every word you said, how many of my words did you listen to, three?". Although, you don't wish to as you don't want to cause any more trouble. 2. They should understand. They should help you explain your problem in the best words until the pupil has agreed that the teacher understands their question. This is important especially in lower school S1-S4. As they maybe can't always explain where they are stuck. 3. discuss. Teachers shouldn't just lecture on what you have done wrong and right, they should discuss, allow you to be a part of the learning too! And that way, maybe both teachers and pupils learn things from each other.

              I would like to congratulate all the teachers who do use these methods, discuss, listen and understand (not in that order). The only person who can really teach you how to teach, is a pupil. It's like that saying, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Think about that saying, then think about teachers learning from pupils, and pupils learning from teachers. You'll understand!

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                06.08.2007 11:17
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                Things I looked for in a teacher

                If you believe the news then self defense abilities and a thick skin are a basic requirement but for me I remember some of my bes teachers had some of the following qualities.


                They were really enthusiastic about the subject that they taught and this passion carried over into their lessons which helped make even a subject that I was not that bothered about interesting and at least the time passed quickly. We had a history teacher who loved to act out bits from history as they explained it and at first people were taken back but they soon got used to the style and it really made the subject come alive.


                A teacher needs to have authority over their class, I always preferred the strict teachers rather than the laid back ones as I felt safer in their class as I knew the bullies would be controlled and that the lesson would run a lot more smoothly. This does not mean they need to shout all of the tme but that they were able to use their voice to control the class and have a clear set of rules that they always follow, this meant that if you did something wrong you knew what the punishment would be. Also if you did something well you knew that you would get some kind of recognition.


                Finally I think a teacher has to be a good communicator and able to relate to their students, they do not need to be friends but they do have to povide guidence in a honest manner if it is asked for.

                Lastly it would have been nice if at least one of them had looked like Brad Pitt but sadly it was not to be.

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                  24.10.2006 14:17
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                  An excellent teacher should be able to inspire their students and teach effectively.

                  Many believe that some of the most important traits to make an excellent teacher include the ability to command respect and inspire their students to study. (Good) Teaching is probably one of the hardest and most important professions in today’s workplace. A student’s outlook and future can be greatly influenced by those teaching them.

                  To be an excellent teacher, one not only has to have a full command of the subject but also full knowledge of the course structure and examination system. The teacher should also have a good understanding of the mind set and standards of students within the class.

                  Many enjoy teaching bright students, those who only require concepts to be explained once and can absorb their newly found knowledge like a sponge. Unfortunately, when the same teacher is presented with a thick student, they feel frustrated. Nothing can get through the child’s head and the teacher simply assumes this is down to poor genetics. The teacher will then encourage the child to find something else they are good at such as sports, art or music. This is an example of poor and lazy teaching, something that should be discouraged within the teaching profession.

                  You see, a good teacher should see all their students as equal. If a student is willing to learn (even if they are classified as stupid) the teacher should be able to guide the student to achieving good grades. Unfortunately many teachers prefer to neglect their responsibilities by blaming it on the student. This is a disgraceful act and in such instances the student is better off learning on their own. Even if students do not appear willing to learn, often there are many simple reasons for this. An excellent teacher can inspire even those that lack motivation and are at the bottom of the class.

                  An excellent teacher should have a firm understanding of accelerated learning techniques such as mind mapping, visual thinking, neuro-linguistics, memory trees and visual thinking. Although such techniques are simple they are essential for achieving success. Such techniques will allow even those with the poorest academic grades to achieve top grades as long as they have the passion and motivation.

                  This leads me to the second point; the teacher must be able to inspire this motivation into all their students. There are different ways of going about this, although some techniques are potentially more harmful. There are those within the teaching profession that teach purely out of selfishness, they feel the need to ensure that as many students achieve top A-Level grades as possible. Often this is done by breaking the class down mentally and reminding them that they are looking at a grim future if they don’t work hard and achieve the top grades. This can make or break a student, if the student succeeds they are led to believe they have won the first class golden ticket in life, if they fail they are led to believe that they are a failure doomed for more failure. However little do they know, the teacher is simply acting out of selfishness to ensure that the school maintains its boastful academic levels as published in the school’s reports. This effectively means increased job security and salaries.

                  However, an excellent teacher should have the ability to inspire students to achieve top grades through genuine interest and motivation rather than fear of failure. This can be done by communicating the subject through interest and using the mind mapping techniques to help the students visualize and understand the given material.

                  Unfortunately, in an examination situation there is always only one correct answer. If the student does not provide this answer, they fail. Spending excessive amounts of time on learning material does not equal results. The teacher must communicate this firmly into the mind of their students. The teaching must be methodical and precise by focusing on the material that is relevant.

                  Finally, in reality, life is very different to an examination. Unlike an examination, life has many different possibilities and answers. Teachers should also communicate this firmly to their students.

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                    23.10.2006 21:00
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                    90% Are Great.

                    I had a very mixed time at school and although some of this was due to bullies, much of it was down to the teachers. Not only at school but at university I have noticed what is needed to make a good teacher as I have seen some extremely shocking ones at times. I do have my reasons why I think the standards do go down sometimes but I do think that the majority of teachers I have come across have been great. Also my Mom works in a school as a nursery nurse and she has to do a teachers job most of the time as the others simply cannot do it properly so I have had quite a bit of advice while writing this review so hopefully for any aspiring teachers you will understand some aspects that are expected of you.

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                    The Good:


                    My Experience:

                    I have always had quite a good relationship with most teachers because I was very quiet and very studious throughout school and university. I am also quite an approachable person so I think at school the teachers always knew they could ask for my help or give me things to do and they knew I would get on and do them. The good teachers I have come across have been confident, quite firm and knew what they were doing. They were approachable and friendly as I think this is what you need in a teacher.

                    My favourite teacher was one of my university lecturers who helped me throughout my course and managed to give me sound advice which led to me thinking of him as a bit of a mentor. He was fantastic and when it came to my dissertation he would let me explain things to him and then give me advice on how to do things better and he was genuinely excited about my dissertation simply because he loved what he did for a living.


                    What you Need to be a Good Teacher:

                    Confidence;
                    Confidence is a major thing for teachers as to be able to in a way command kids and young adults you need to be able to come across as a confident individual. So many teachers I have seen (yes even in quite posh schools) be knocked down by pupils simply not listening and basically playing up. These teachers have then acted quite withdrawn which has lead the playing up to continue and increase. I think confidence is all about the way you act and the way you approach things. If something is wrong then make it known and do not let it carry on.

                    At school I used to sit there all lesson with one teacher with three students constantly talking throughout which was driving everybody mad. This teacher thought it was a good idea to ignore it so they would get bored but of course they didn’t and it just got on everybody’s nerves with nobody solving it. So come on teachers make sure you can stand up for yourself and other (good) fellow pupils.


                    Knowledge;
                    I have seen this quite a lot of times unfortunately but a teacher who has not actually got the knowledge to teach the subject is awful. If you are going to teach then you need to be able to know your subject(s) inside out and it ties into confidence as you need to be confident in your own intellect. If somebody steps up and asks you a question then you need to be ale to give them a solid answer and not freeze, even if it is to say you will find out for them.

                    The worst teacher I ever had was a Biology teacher at school and he knew nothing. He used to sit there and get us to read a chapter out of the book and then do experiments from it. If anybody even asked a question he used to make us look it up in the book and he could never not refer to the book. That was just awful.


                    Turn Up;
                    The most important thing about being a teacher is to actually turn up to do your job. As a student I used to feel awful if a teacher did not turn up for school or university because it wasted a lesson. There are always supply teachers which is so annoying as they never really know where in the syllabus you are and also it is hard to adjust to another teaching style when you are so used to one already.

                    The reason I bought up this section is because when I was at school we had a teacher that never used to turn up to any of the lessons and when we counted in one academic year we had only actually had twelve full lessons from him which is ridiculous. Everybody failed this specific A Level and most of the reason was because the teacher was never there.


                    Be on Time;
                    You expect to lead by example so you need to always be there on time. I cant stand teachers who keep pupils waiting because it is just bad manners. If a pupil is late then they are ridiculed for it so it should be the same with teachers. We had one English teacher who was always strolling into class five / ten minutes after it had started. We just found it rude although to be honest we did like the extra time to gossip.


                    Be Prepared;
                    The one thing that you actually must be (and no excuses) to be a teacher is to be prepared. My Mom spends some of her weekend making sure she knows what she is doing each day of the week as there is nothing worse than getting to the school and in front of all of the students and getting stuck with nothing to say. Me personally when I was at school I liked to have a schedule so that I knew what I was doing for the academic year. This works with most subjects and I think it is good to get people used to the real world where they will need to work to targets and time periods.

                    Plus if you are prepared for what you are doing then the job should be pretty straight forward but if you don’t then you can easily get confused. I remember when I had to actually do a lecture once at university and act as the teacher and I prepared so much that it went perfectly. My friend however didn’t and it all turned out messy with her getting stuck with what to say. Know what you are doing and it shouldn’t go wrong (hopefully).


                    Be Passionate;
                    If you are teaching then people will expect you to be passionate about what you do and believe me it does come across if you are not. The example I have is when I was at school and our English teacher was ill so we had an arts teacher come over and take over a few lessons. She was so bored and the lesson was a complete disaster because she wasn’t interested so it affected the class and they became uninterested. Teaching is quite a hard job (apart from the holidays) so you do have to be passionate about the subject you teach, especially if you are going to teach it every day for years.


                    Expect it to be Hard Work;
                    My Mom has known a lot of people go into teaching because they expect the job to be very easy. I mean you get the good holidays and you get to leave to go home earlier than others but the actual job can be tiresome and extremely hard work. This gets people around exam time as they have to spend their evenings marking exams. My Mom always says that every teacher she knows moans about the job and whenever I ask her why she just says they think they get it too hard.

                    What I will say to aspiring teachers is that it is not as easy as you expect and if you just want to go into it for the easiness then you will end up disappointed.


                    Want to Teach;
                    My final bit of advice is to let you know that to be a teacher you really do have to want to teach. This is so important because repeating from above a little many people do go into it for the wrong reasons. I would love to get the holidays and time off they get but I would absolutely hate the teaching part (which is a bit of a drawback really) so I would never get into the profession.

                    Successful teachers do want to be teachers and you can tell these people apart from everybody else. They are the ones with all of the qualities I have mentioned already so are passionate, enthusiastic and always on the go. These are the teachers that I liked at school and that I actually enjoyed been taught by as you really felt you could learn something from them. Everybody else just used to get ignored really.

                    -----

                    The Bad:

                    My Experiences;

                    Well my A levels were a disaster because of two teachers. I had one who never used to turn up to lessons which I told you above and then one who just used to read from a book who incidentally was the same one who apparently ‘accidentally’ taught us the wrong syllabus. This resulted in me failing two important A Levels which I was not happy about at all.

                    At university I have to say I had no problems as all my teachers were excellent but my fiancé and housemate had about 70% of their teachers be a pain. This would be missing lectures and getting substitutes in and even at times cancelling lectures. My housemate even had a lecture each week where the teacher wouldn’t offer any help to anybody who asked and just preferred to sit there playing on the internet.

                    My Mom is always telling me about the teachers at her school who come and go because they cant handle it and also they moan constantly about their job. She tells me that certain teachers constantly are unprepared and she ends up having to do their work for them to actually be able to teach the kids to a decent standard.


                    What Not to Do:

                    I know I have already touched on these but here is a quick reminder list;

                    • Don’t be late
                    • Don’t miss a lesson if you can help it
                    • Don’t act bored
                    • Stay calm in most situations
                    • Don’t expect it all to be easy
                    • Don’t go into the profession if it is not what you really want to do
                    • Don’t be naïve and expect you can just get by with minor knowledge
                    • Don’t be un-organised
                    • Don’t be unapproachable.

                    -----

                    So there you go and I hope you now know what I expect in a teacher. I have had my fair of absolutely rubbish ones who I have just sat there wondering why are you a teacher and then I have had great ones who I could truly see loved their job. Teaching is one of those jobs you do really need to want to do so do your research before you go into it and anybody wanting to be a teacher, good luck.

                    Thanks for reading.

                    xxx

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                      17.10.2006 20:09
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                      Ideas on what makes a good teacher.

                      Recently I have spent some time observing various teachers so this category is an excellent one for me to record some of my thoughts about what makes an excellent teacher. In fact it almost reads like a top ten given the things that I have identified.

                      Opening Activity

                      Common to all of the teachers that I observed was the fact that every lesson started with some form of task to ensure that all students were engaged in the lesson from the outset. These activities varied in type and style, some reflected the learning from previous lessons in the form of a word search, some were general activities not related to the lesson e.g. a countdown style number exercise, and in some cases amongst older age groups it involved a general discussion. These activities had clear benefits with regards to focusing student’s attention and aiding their learning.

                      Variety of Activities

                      The amount of variety in a lesson was also key to aid learning and many teachers and students enjoyed the fact that the number and variety of activities in the lesson helped them work at their own pace. For the teachers I spoke to this also helped them differentiate the learning depending on the student’s ability.

                      Enthusiasm

                      Enthusiasm for, and a clear enjoyment of teaching was another factor that all teachers shared and it was this obvious enjoyment of working with children that helped drive the learning of students. In particular one teacher that I observed and spoke to afterwards readily agreed that all of his lessons were personality driven creating an atmosphere of fun that allowed him to get across the learning requirements of the lessons and maintain student’s concentration.


                      Classroom Management

                      Having a clear protocol with regards to classroom management was also evident in all effective teachers’ classes and in particular those I observed delivered by the two NQT teachers. The importance of being consistent at all times with regards to entry into the classroom, the answering of questions and the need for students to show respect to each other and the teacher were very much a part of this. The most profound example of this was witnessing the conduct of a class who I last observed nine months ago when they were completely out of control however the transformation since then has been significant and was attributed in part to the setting and enforcement of clear guidelines to aid learning.

                      Praise

                      The use of praise in a number of forms was a consistent feature of the most effective lessons I observed, in some where the confidence of the pupils were low or the class were quite young then the praise was frequent and in front of the whole class whilst with some older students it was much more on a one to one basis. There was also the use of formal structures such as the use of stickers and stamps in work books that proved popular with most students.

                      Focus on Examination Criteria

                      Many teachers that I spoke to emphasised the need to relate the students learning back to the requirements of the examining board and to do this they all felt the need to have a good understanding of what the examination board were looking for with their questions. The use of practice papers throughout the course was a common practice and I observed a number of occasions when during the lesson the learning was put into the context of what would be required in an examination e.g. the use of correct terminology and definitions within a GCSE Business Studies exam.




                      Planning and Personal Organisation

                      Planning and personal organisation were also in evidence during my time at the school and especially with the two NQT teachers who relied a lot on the ability to time manage their day to allow for the planning of lessons to ensure that their time in front of students was used to the best effect.

                      Ongoing Assessment

                      All of the teachers used some form of assessment during their lessons to check understanding and to ensure that the learning was being taken on board. Some times this would be captured in the lessons plenary whilst on other occasions they would circulate while the students were engaged in a task and ask questions of individual pupils and monitor the quality of work that they were doing. The use of open questioning techniques during the lesson was also a common practice to use.

                      Positive Attitude

                      Within the classroom teachers always displayed a positive attitude and focused on the positive achievements of the students and did not dwell on any negative behaviour or activities once the issue had been addressed. This positive attitude helped to create confidence within the students and a sense of pride in their achievements which made the learning process more enjoyable and rewarding.

                      Reflective Approach

                      The majority of the teachers I observed adopted a very reflective approach to their own teaching, after the lessons each was normally able to identify something that went well and also an area that they would focus on or change the next time they taught the class or particular lesson. Allied to this was a desire to learn from others which was reflected in the schools culture around the development of its staff which had a very clear structure to it and was given a high priority by both senior management and faculty heads.


                      These are by no means a complete list they are just some of the things that I have observed whilst spending time in schools.

                      Thanks for reading and rating my review.

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                        16.10.2006 19:48
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                        Lots of qualities, I have tried to name a few.

                        What qualities make an excellent teacher?

                        Personally I think teachers work hard and have to put up with a lot of problems in their jobs, which many of us could not cope with. Therefore the first qualities they need are PATIENCE and TOLERANCE.

                        They have to be patient when dealing with pupils who find it difficult to learn what they are trying to teach them, they have to be tolerant because they are limited in what they can say to unruly pupils.

                        Teachers also have to be TACTFUL. Can you imagine a teacher telling a parent of the naughtiest child in the class that their offspring is unruly, loud mouthed and a disruption to everyone else? So they have to be tactful in what they say.

                        They also have to be UNDERSTANDING, many children have problems, not every child comes from a loving and caring family. As a result the child may not behave very well or may find it difficult to concentrate, the teacher must be able to understand this and treat each child as an individual.

                        Whatever public opinion is of the teaching profession, scathing about their short working day and long holidays, there is no doubt in my mind that teachers are HARDWORKING. Who else would spend evenings, weekends and holiday time preparing work, marking work, attending evening meetings, dealing with different situations every day, attend training sessions, put up with the government changing their daily routine frequently? I could go on, but think you get the general idea that teachers do not just work 9 – 3 every day and have 12 weeks in the year when they do nothing.

                        Teachers have to be THICK SKINNED, and I mean this in more ways than one. For a start they have to be prepared to stand outside in all weathers on playground duty, making sure the kids are well behaved at playtime. If you have ever stood at a bus stop in the freezing cold waiting around for 15 minutes or so, then this is what it is like. But in addition, teachers have also to be thick skinned because they know they are the subject of widespread criticism but they cannot answer back.

                        Why? Because of that other quality they possess – PROFESSIONALISM. This means that although they work hard, trying to educate the most unruly pupils and are on the receiving end of angry parents, they do not answer back, because of their professional attitude to their job.

                        FITNESS and HEALTH are two other qualities that teachers should possess. They have to be fit to keep up with the boundless energy of a class of 30 or so kids, and if they are not healthy they will find themselves going down with all kinds of ailments. Kids these days are sent to school if they have colds, tummy upsets, or all kinds of other sicknesses, the majority of parents go out to work and if little Johnny is not well, it means they have to take the day off work to look after him. So off he goes to school where the teacher can take care of him.

                        Then of course when the teacher goes off sick and a supply teacher is sent in to look after Johnny’s class, the parents can have another moan.

                        It goes without saying that a teacher must be WELL EDUCATED, their spelling must be excellent, they must be able to do all kinds of mathematics, they have to be good at art and craft, not to mention being a fount of knowledge on every other conceivable subject. When kids ask their parents something they don’t know the answer to, they will tell the kid to ask their teacher and if the teacher doesn’t know then heaven help them, they are supposed to know everything aren’t they?

                        They have to be good at COMMUNICATION, this means being able to talk to children and parents and colleagues of course. They have to be able to speak clearly and listen well, use body language effectively. A child soon learns that a stern faced teacher is not pleased about something, but on the other hand when the child sees the teacher smiling it means something good has happened or is about to happen. And what about storytime? Isn’t communication vital here? The teacher has to be a DRAMATIST in order to bring the story to life when relating it to the children.

                        I think I have covered most of the essential qualities here, but one last quality I would like to add is that teachers today should possess CONFIDENCE. They need this to be able to stand up in front of a classroom of kids, but they should also be confident that whatever the critics say about them, they do an excellent job.

                        Of I forgot one vital quality – a SENSE OF HUMOUR! Essential, even if only to smile when on the second day of the school holidays they witness stressed parents in the supermarekt yelling at their kids and saying “I will be glad when you are back at school.” Ah well, it seems teachers possess the quality of being able to COPE WITH ANYTHING, but obviously many parents don’t!

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