Here is what students have to say about what they consider a great teacher.
1. They are passionate. They are passionate about teaching English. They're people who students want to listen to and ask questions of. And no matter what age they are, these teachers are still relevant to their students' lives.
2. Great teachers love to read. They always read something. And they bring the knowledge they gained through the reading to class and make it so much more interesting.
3. Great English teachers work too hard. They write out advice-sheets for their classes, sample essays, give detailed feedback, write plays, direct and take coach loads of students to the theatre.
4. Great English teachers don't pretend they know it all. They love being asked questions they can't answer because it gives them something to find out. They exemplify real learning - open-ended, unpredictable and ongoing.
5. Great English teachers see students as individuals. They show compassion for all students. The naughty ones will often only behave for these teachers. These teachers have something special to say to each student. They call them out and talk about their work one to one. They say when they're disappointed about something a student has done, but mostly, they celebrate success through sheer enthusiasm for a job well done. Students know when a teacher really knows them: a great English teacher invariably does. You only have to note the way ex-students send cards or make visits to be reminded that great English teachers change people for life.
6. Great English teachers are not afraid of making midstream lesson changes. Their lessons can feel hugely creative and unpredictable. Yet, they fit into an overall developmental pattern. A student will know where she's heading, what she needs to work on to improve. And yet, it will all feel so fluid, so unforced, and so natural. This is the great English teacher's gift.
7. Great English teachers take risks. They have their own favorite texts but they frequently try out new ones. They're not afraid to use a grammar or punctuation exercise if that's what's going to clarify the thinking of the class. But mainly, they use texts to excite and challenge our minds, even when they know that the texts may be at a little high level. It's a sign of their self-confidence, of their high expectations.
They mix idealism and pragmatism. They have high ideals about students gaining a love of literature and a relish for the infinite complexity of language. At the same time, they are ready to simplify language to a series of accessible rules if that will help their students' progress.
8. Great English teachers love the process of teaching: they cherish its creative opportunities. They like listening to students talking, like watching their drama, and reading their stories.
9. Great English teachers are undervalued. They should be showing teachers in all subjects how to teach - how to build students' confidence, how to structure lessons, how to assess skills and knowledge effectively, always considering the progress of the students.
10. Great English teachers show every student how good they really are. You walk out of their lessons feeling you can do things: you can read better, write better, think better and learn better. Great English teachers nourish our belief in ourselves.
11. Great English teachers get nervous on the day of tests. They don’t automatically blame the individual student if a result is disappointing. They hold themselves accountable and use the exam results to reflect upon their classes.
12. Great English teachers are more important than they realize. They teach the most important skills within the most important subject. They remind us of the power of language and the beauty of literature. They help students to cope with a complex world, standing for certain values - for the confidence to ask questions, for the security of knowing there aren't always simple answers, for being prepared to argue your case, and doing so in a style that is powerfully appropriate.
Great English teachers do all this and more. They have an impact beyond their knowledge, influencing generations of people. They're the reason many of us are English teachers ourselves. They are, quite simply, great teachers in an age when teachers are almost automatically disparaged. We owe them a great deal; we owe them our gratitude.
Courtesy of International TEFL Training Institute New York