To Become a Good Teacher

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Good teachers:

are good at explaining things. Do you like to explain how something works, or how something happened? Being comfortable with explaining content to students is an essential skill for teachers, regardless of the subject or grade level.

keep their cool. There will be times when you will be tempted to scream or yell at your students, other teachers, parents, administrators, and so on. Good teachers are able to successfully resist this urge.

have a sense of humor. Research has consistently shown that good teachers have a sense of humor, and that they are able to use humor as part of their teaching methods. Humor, used properly, can be a powerful addition to any lesson.

like people, especially students in the age range in which they intend to teach. Most teachers choose an area of specialization such as elementary education, special education, secondary education, or higher education because they have a temperament for students in those age ranges. If you are not comfortable working with young children, don't major in elementary education!

are inherently fair-minded. They are able to assess students on the basis of performance, not on the students' personal qualities.

have "common sense." It may sound a bit corny, but good teachers are practical. They can size up a situation quickly and make an appropriate decision. Whether managing a classroom, leading students on a field trip, seamlessly shifting from one instructional procedure to another, assigning detentions, supervising an intern, or dealing with policy and curriculum issues in the school, there is no substitute for common sense.

have a command of the content they teach. For elementary school teachers, that means having knowledge of a broad range of content in sufficient depth to convey the information in meaningful ways to the students. For secondary school teachers, it usually means having an in-depth command of one or two specific content areas such as mathematics or...
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