An outstanding teacher is…

I have spent the last two hours writing responses to job applications so my brain is absolutely fried on the creative side this evening. Although I would love to have more to give… the response to one of the essay questions will have to do. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions… it isn’t yet submitted. I have one more response to write… job hunting is exhausting!

Describe the Skills or Attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher:

I believe an outstanding teacher must possess a wide variety of skills and attributes in order to accommodate the academic, social, and emotional needs of all of their students. Teachers serve several roles for their students, each of those requiring specific abilities that need to be consistently present in the classroom.

First and foremost, an outstanding teacher must be effective; and a teacher is only as effective as their passion and excitement for teaching. An outstanding teacher expresses enthusiasm for content area instruction and works to ensure that all students are engaged and participating as active learners in the classroom. An outstanding teacher knows how to transfer their energy into their instruction, and cater to all students’ diverse learning styles; thereby ensuring that ALL students have the opportunity to engage in the learning process. When new information with passion and excitement, students want to learn.

Secondly, an outstanding teacher works to create a classroom community where all students are equally respected and valued for their unique contributions to the room. Positive relationships between both teacher and student are nurtured and mutual respect is displayed in daily interactions. An outstanding teacher is available for their students and is willing to invest in their energy into getting to know each of their students as individuals. When students know that their opinions are valued and respected, they are more likely to strive for excellence.

An outstanding teacher has a mastery of the content to be taught, uses assessment to drive instruction, and sets attainable goals; which are continually monitored through both formative and summative assessment. Material is presented through various modalities and with appropriate scaffolding so that the material is attainable for all levels of learners.

Finally, I believe that an outstanding teacher is realistic and flexible. Things do not always go the way they were planned; students misbehave, schedules are changed, the material is not engaging… there are many factors that can easily invoke stress and frustration into a teacher’s day. An outstanding teacher knows how and when to adapt, step away or completely abort planned activities. Adaptation does not mean failure and outstanding teachers know and understand this to be true.

As shown above, to be an outstanding teacher, there are a number of roles and skills that must be juggled during daily classroom instruction. When all of these attributes come together, ALL students are given the opportunity to succeed and ultimately, an outstanding teacher is born.