What are the characteristics of a great teacher? This is a question that preoccupies those of us who aspire to be outstanding educators!
Jonathan Hensman, the Headmaster of Anglican Church Grammar School in Australia, offers his answer to this question in the May 2012 issue of Independence.
According to him, a top performing teacher:
- Adds value to the whole community of a school, and nurtures those around them;
- Gets involved in the wider life of a school, such as drama, music, sport, clubs, and weekend and holiday expeditions;
- Has a positive personality and gets on well with those around them;
- Has an extraordinary work ethic;
- Has personal convictions about the purpose of life and its values;
- Looks for opportunities to interact with students outside the classroom;
- Creates opportunities, seeking out the chance to contribute to school life, in the classroom and beyond;
- Possesses a heart and is generally refreshing company, willing to give time to students or parents;
- Feel priviliged to be a teacher, believing they have a special role to play in society;
- Is willing to speak out about controversial matters and are recognised as being credible because they understand the cultural context of the school;
- Has high expectations of themselves and their students and strives to get the best from their students by using their personality, work ethic and convictions rather than by coercion;
- Regards educating as more than a job, and for some, it may be a calling in a spiritual sense.
Hensman recognises the role the Head Teacher plays as “enabler” of top performing teachers, stating:
It is the responsibility of the Head to establish the culture of the school. A Head should be a role model, facilitator and encourager… Heads must create an environment for top performers to thrive, in order for them to continue to grow and develop.
What do you think are the characteristics of a top performing teacher? Do let me know in the comments below!
Source: Independence: The Journal of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia, Volume 37, Number 1, May 2012.