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Essay on Qualities of a Good Teacher

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I have been a teacher for more than fifteen years, during which I’ve always tried to be a good teacher. But what makes a good teacher? What are the qualities of such a teacher? Are teaching methodology courses enough? These questions occupied a significant portion of my mind and time as they don’t have simple answers. Thus I started reading about the qualities a good teacher should have. Then I enrolled in a couple of courses that were really beneficial: Teaching Methodology offered by an Egyptian Institute with Cairo University and What Future for Education offered online by Coursera with the University of London. During the latter, I came across a very interesting quote “Learning to teach, like teaching itself, is an ongoing, endless process of becoming.” Deborah Bretzman. It gave me the answer to my questions: there is no exact formula of qualities. However, there are various competencies as well as the lifelong process of persistently trying to analyze, evaluate, and enhance our teaching; simultaneously become more accommodating to our students by focusing on their individual needs; we, too, should cater to their hunger for knowledge by motivating them to generate questions that lead them to find more about the topics they learn.

The teaching profession is built basically on the way teachers reflect on their work which includes analyzing and assessing their work to find means of improvement. In a Spanish-Scottish project commenced in Scotland (McArdle, K., Hurrell, A. and Martinez, Y.M., 2013) teachers were allowed to talk about their own experiences and what made them good at it, which has not been encompassed in teacher effectiveness theories before. This group of teachers was chosen by Alison Hurrell, a teacher educator in modern languages at the University of Aberdeen, according to specific criteria including both genders: they all attended teaching programs; they were unbiased, solicitous, comprehensive, congruent, and influential. The interviews were then analyzed; the conclusion was that each of the teachers was good in a different way, yet they all shared a genuine concern about the welfare of their students and a willingness of helping parents and colleagues. Their main aim was to motivate, enthuse and engage their students to be efficient learners. They thought of means of scaffolding students to catch up with their peers and they treated their students fairly no matter what backgrounds they had.

There are various ways and things that people think of when talking about a good teacher such as planning lessons, mastering the subject taught, and meeting deadlines. According to Bloom’s taxonomy(Anderson, L.W. 1994), a good teacher has to guide his students through the different steps of the taxonomy to help them not only to remember, understand and apply the topic or skill taught but also be able to analyze and evaluate it in order to efficiently create something or form an opinion. Teachers do that by transferring their knowledge, repeating, reinforcement of good behavior, and repercussions for undesired behavior. All of which are really key elements, still they don’t guarantee good teaching. Some teachers might be following the exact methods and utilizing teaching skills and still can’t reach their students (Moore, A., 2004). Moore mentions that reflecting on one’s teaching way is important to improve, yet it can create a feeling of guilt about what should have been done, which can restrain improvement. If we consider the students’ opinions of what makes a good teacher, there will be a variety of key elements such as motivating, listening, allowing students to express their opinions freely, hard-working, light-hearted, and even good-looking (Haider, A. and Jalal, S., 2018).

The main goal of teaching is to help create a curious educational environment where students can satisfy their desire to find rewarding answers to their critical questions. The use of modern communication technologies like the internet, different applications, and websites have offered teachers and students a great opportunity to easily and quickly learn anything. A good teacher should master new technological ways to prepare his students for the future, help them explore their own talents and skill areas, and find out what future careers they might enjoy and excel at. Teaching technologies also support the learning process for all student levels “We have the opportunity to use technologies in ways that support modem pedagogical thought devoted to the premise that all are capable of learning, even if the pathways for each learner are different.” (Thornburg, D.D.1999). Another element that helps prepare students for the future is integrating technology with science, engineering, and mathematics to help students perceive the everyday practices of these subjects to allow them to think critically and be self-sufficient learners (The STEM education). A good teacher collaborates with his colleagues to link their subjects together in real-life situations to create critical thinkers and problem solvers. (Bybee, R.W., 2010.)

Since the future of the new generations lies in teachers’ good hands, they have to constantly and intensively work on their teaching skills, aim to address their student's individual needs in a way that is suitable for them, and finally plant the seed of curiosity to enhance their analytical and critical thinking skills. The teaching profession requires as well constant learning of new ways to create rapport with and gain the respect of students. A good teacher as seen by teachers and students must have various competencies and more importantly personal virtues that lead to wisdom as mentioned by Biesta, G (2015, p.13) “I believe that teachers can continue to grow in their educational wisdom, and in this regard, the question what is educationally desirable is one that should remain central throughout their teaching career.”

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Moore critiques three dominant discourses within teaching; those of the charismatic ‘born’ teacher, the competent craftsperson, and the reflective practitioner. He offers two common responses by teachers to these models; pragmatism and reflexivity and advocates the reflexive response as the way to move beyond self-blame for our shortcomings as teachers towards recognition of how our own lives and experiences shape the way we act.

The book is divided into three sections with the first establishing issues around the concept of ‘the good teacher’. Moore introduces the concept of transference where student teachers make the transition from pupil to teacher, bringing with them ‘baggage’ from their own school experiences that affect their attitudes to teaching.

Section two then critiques the dominant discourses that student teachers are faced with. The first two of charismatic subject and competent craftsperson cover familiar ground for anyone already established within the teaching profession and for me were the least useful part of the book. The critique of the model of the reflective practitioner in contrast offers useful insights; based on the findings from a research project, into what reflection can mean at its best and worst. The idea of a reflective activity continuum from ritualistic reflection to that which is constructively critical may be helpful to students in recognizing what they are gaining from their reflections and how to move on. Moore makes the crucial point that reflection can, within certain interpretations lead not to improve but to self-blame. He emphasizes the difference between ‘inking’ and ‘thinking’; a vital point when the requirement for student teachers to reflect on their practice is an integral part of their course.

Two teacher responses to the dominant discourses are considered in the third section: Pragmatism is discussed as a move that is often regarded as necessary for survival but which can lead to a culture of compliance. It is the second response of reflexivity that Moore advocates as a way to move teachers beyond self-blame to an understanding of the ‘big picture of ourselves as teachers within the context of our whole lives. He suggests the reflection that looks at our responses to situations. The connections to our personal biographies may enable key issues to be addressed. It is this final section that makes the book distinctive in offering a way to move beyond established models of the ‘good teacher and it is a shame it is so brief.

This book has a wide audience but may be predominantly useful to those new to teaching. Those who are entering the teaching profession by new routes such as graduate teachers who have less of a traditional college-based support network may, in particular, find this a constructive framework for their developing ideologies. As a teacher educator, I would use the sections on reflective and reflexive practice with students as a way to explore just what we mean by reflection.

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Essay on Qualities of a Good Teacher. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from
“Essay on Qualities of a Good Teacher.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
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Essay on Qualities of a Good Teacher [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2023 Dec 2]. Available from:
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