by Sebastian A '14

What Makes a Good Teacher?

Good teachers are the main part of getting a great education. They provide the necessary support and guidance in an individual’s academic career and take on the role outside of mentor. Being that a teacher inevitably plays such a large role of a student’s academic career their qualities will ultimately manifest themselves into the welfare of the students. This arises the question of what specific attributes of teachers are optimal to the education of students and which are not. Being that the teacher body is as disparate in their attributes and as the student body, it is hard to generalize the attributes of a good teacher. Some teachers are cute looking, some are funny, some have hairy eyebrows and some wear outfits that pleasure me. Nonetheless the BSGE student body does have a stance on what is believed to be the attributes of “the ideal teacher”
One characteristic of teachers that always seems to emerge is how exactly the classroom is run. The fact of the matter is that most people like to attend a class centered on group work as opposed to individual work. The chance for group collaboration may create a sense of confidence for each individual in the group when tackling unfamiliar material or may simply give chance for all the members to contribute without being scrutinized by the teacher. Simply put by seventh grader Jay Schleyer, “ I like group work however it depends if the people in the group are responsible or not. The type of group work that I think is the best is when a new idea is presented and the whole group has to come together and make inferences about.” Here the idea of group work is no longer simply collaborative thinking, rather it becomes collaborative problem solving, and to certain students, such as Jay, they can be very effective when implemented into the classroom setting. Even those who preferred individual work in certain instances understood that group work had its place, such as 8th grader Eunice Kim says, “If there are worksheets or things that are not that hard to deal with independently I would rather work individually. However when assignment is a project and is difficult then I would prefer to work in a group. Group work is also gives you a chance to hear someone else ideas when you are confused.” In both instances group work was deemed most useful when material or concept proved the most difficult. The presence of collaborative thinking also as seen provides a sense of confidence for its members.
Another characteristic of the classroom setting that seems to be an issue is the nature of how information is delivered to students. Many individuals see the classroom setting as one that should be very interactive and thus the class lessons should be interactive as well. There comes a point when a captivated teacher loses his/ her students to peers. This is a common idea held by many students and the reality is that no matter how interesting a class no one wants to hear a teacher talk all period. It seems to be consistent amongst the student body that each class has to have a level of interaction in order for a student to succeed let alone bear it. As seventh grader Jay Schleyer puts it, “I hate when the teacher just speaks and we don’t get to say anything and I eventually just get really bored.” The amount of time that a teacher should speak is a specification that is arguable within the BSGE student body.
One of the last attributes of a teacher that the B.S.G.E. student body has some consensus about deals with the sporadic nature of a teacher. In terms of workload, test difficulty and any other classwork that has an immediate effect on a student’s grade in that class, there is always a need for a teacher to maintain some sort of regularity. Steven Alvarez, a 10th grade student, said that “ I guess when it comes to homework and tests I appreciate regularity”. Tenth grader Elizabeth Kwon went to add that, “ If there is a shift in the work load or difficulty it should be gradual as the year progresses. I feel that teachers who, to an extent, are not consistent have students that are not developing in terms of the class. In the end if a teacher is sporadic within the class there should not be any negative repercussions ” To some the idea of regularity in classes offers slight relief to an otherwise busy academic life at BSGE.
Despite certain BSGE students agreeing on certain aspects of what makes for a good teacher and effective classroom, there is still no unanimous conception of the attributes of the “perfect teacher”. In the end each student at BSGE has their own preferences; some of which are similar while others are in complete conflict. It would take a myriad of attributes to satisfy the desires of every student at B.S.G.E.


By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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