What Do We Need Our Teachers to Be?
One of the first books I read when I began preparing for a role in educational administration was Ten Traits of Highly Effective Teachers: How to Hire, Coach, and Mentor Successful Teachers by Elaine McEwan-Adkins. Published in 2001, the author concisely describes how the following qualities define great teachers, in terms of their character, skill-specific qualities, and intellectual traits:
- Mission-driven and passionate
- Positive and real
- A teacher-leader
- Motivational expertise
- Instructional effectiveness
- Book learning
- Street smarts
- A mental life
A fairly all-encompassing list. Applicable 10+ years later? I believe so. Kind of timeless, in a sense. The descriptors surrounding those qualities may evolve as does a teacher’s role each year.
I do a lot of thinking about teacher quality. I am able to interact with many teachers in both face-to-face and online settings each and every day. As some administrators may be able to tell you: Almost without fail, you can spot a quality teacher by simply existing in their presence for a few short minutes. There’s something about the way she interacts with students, is organized and prepared, is a fluid communicator and skillfully asks engaging questions, is capable of captivating an audience. He’s someone who has command of a learning environment, and it’s an absolute delight to watch this teaching and learning in action. A quality teacher has “with-it-ness,” as McEwan-Adkins describes.