The ingredients of a great teacher

Sarah Salmon

Monday, 16 July 2018

We all know one, don't we -  an educator of stupendous capacity and excellent teaching. So what exactly makes them stand one or two heads above the rest?

Whilst there are a range of sound bites that make a teacher stand out from the crowd, the underlying hallmark is that they immerse themselves into the school community. They listen, they learn, they experience and they understand the complexities of the classroom dynamics to ensure that they can successfully meet the needs of the students they teach.

 

"Community support between staffing networks is an intrinsic motivator for driving teaching morale"

 

What really makes a key impact as an educator is your ability to differentiate and apply yourself within various school settings. Differentiating both yourself and your skillset to a wide range of student abilities within a class can be a make or break roadblock. However the truth is, is that there is no right or 'one' way to differentiate.

The key ingredient to successful teaching is to change your mind-set. Sure, you're taught the expected standards of teaching but remember as an authority educator, you can use your own creativity and intuition to mould the classroom to your own individual strengths. See the diversity as a challenge rather than a threat, keep your expectations and planning flexible, take the time to know your pupils and most importantly be bold and believe in yourself.

Some things work, some don't. Find out what doesn't work and adapt your tactics. Don't let the failures knock you back and learn from them to find what does work. The most successful teachers use failure as a positive opportunity to learn and succeed even better in the future.

 

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"The most successful teachers use failure as a positive opportunity to learn and succeed even better in the future"

 

Teaching, unfortunately isn't a profession that is often 'big'd up' despite the fact that we have a very strong network of excellent teachers, TA's, head teachers and teaching support out there. These unsung heroes are what keeps the learning process alive and remain to be the very catalysts making a difference in the lives of our children.

Community support between staffing networks is an intrinsic motivator for driving teaching morale. This process of recognition and reward actively acknowledges those striving for excellence in education.

Take a look around your school community and identify the hallmarks of what differentiates the good teacher from the great one. As educators, our learning never stops so if you spot a colleague making a real difference, acknowledge it, learn from it and integrate it into your own teaching methods!

 

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Stand out in the classroom and to your students by differentiating your methods with our toolbox of helpful hallmarks...

  • Bring the curriculum to life through creativity and interpretation 
    Invest your time in marketing and teaching your content in the most engaging of ways. Not only will it keep your students engaged, but it will stop you getting bored of always rehashing the same teaching material.

  • KISS and don't overthink 
    Delivering new content to your students can be overwhelming for both them and you so do it in small sizeable chunks. Sometimes the best ways of teaching is by following the rule of KISS: Keeping. It. Short. and. Simple. 

  • Be a presence beyond the classroom
    Some of the most memorable teachers are those whose teachings and lessons go beyond the classroom door. Get to know your students, observe them inside and outside of your classroom so that you can be of guidance and help as a whole. Those teachers that positively impact the lives of their students beyond the school gates are those that truly succeed in their roles. 

  • Offer something different that goes beyond expectations 
    A sign of being a true motivator and leader in teaching is making a memorable difference and shift in your students' mind-sets. Inspire your students to look beyond the rules and regulations of education and open up their mind-set with opportunity and choice.

    Nothing speaks louder than a student saying, "I've never understood the point of maths but Mrs Chambers has shown me just how useful and interesting it will be for my future aspirations of being an architect." = Success!

  • Keep lessons full of communication and exploration 
    Lessons should be full of a range of voices, ideas and opinions, not just the teachers. Question the things you are teaching by asking your students lots of 'How', 'What', 'Why' questions to get them thinking. This not only gets your students learning through new perspectives but also allows you to gauge their progress and how far along they have come in their learning process.

  • Mix it up with different means of medium and activities
    Integrate the traditional and non-traditional by bringing technology into the mix. Host gameshow style discussions, online students presentations, online webinars and live twitter chats with other classrooms to boost communication and online safety with your students.

  • You are not just a teacher but a coach, a mentor, an ally to your students 
    Their education is not solely about learning facts, figures and knowledge but also about balancing and investing in their wellbeing, their self-esteem, confidence and relationships. A teacher that bolsters all aspects of a student's 'whole' learning is one that successfully prepares a child for adulthood and work. 

 

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The teaching process needn't be long-winded, difficult and complex. Keep it simple, keep it clear and keep it flexibly creative.


Teaching is what you make of it and how you approach it with your own attitude and focus will directly reflect upon the attitude, focus and success of your students. Perfect students don't exist and neither do perfect teachers.

There are plenty of resources, ideas and techniques we can implement into our daily routines to ensure that we encourage students to be great. by being great teachers ourselves. 

 

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About our Community Expert

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Sarah Salmon
Digital Marketing Executive

With a background in social media management and editorial writing for jewellery and gemological education, Sarah is the Digital Marketing Executive at Opogo.

Sarah has extensive experience in facilitating the sourcing of industry research, editing copy, writing web content and utilising social media to secure an ever-growing social audience.

Sarah is the voice of Opogo across all our social channels.

Opogo is a community platform designed to help schools attract and retain the talent that’s right for them. Our social hub is packed with rich content from our community experts. And through our ever-evolving Smart Match technology, teachers can be booked for work simply and quickly.

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