Blog challenge: The type of teacher I’d appreciate learning from

20160817_185050One of the most interesting definitions of a good teacher I’ve recently heard was made by Josette LeBlanc on Maria Theologidou’s blog. In an interview, Maria asks Josette what was the moment she realized teaching was her call. Josette concludes her answer saying this:

… since my graduation [from the SIT Graduate Institute], I’ve been working on becoming the type of teacher I’d appreciate learning from.

This sentence immediately stood out for me. Although I can only guess what Josette means by her words, to me, “the type of teacher I’d appreciate learning from” sounds like a perfect definition of what makes a good teacher because, after all, one always wants the best for themselves.

So, one of the easiest ways of finding out how to do our job well, or at least in good conscience, we teachers can start by asking ourselves what type of teacher we would appreciate learning from. The reader may object that we probably do it subconsciously to some extent all the time. Also, each and every one of us has different expectations and these expectations keep changing over time so what we think at a given moment is never a universal truth. But I believe it’s a good start, a useful springboard for our future professional development and most importantly, it’s good for our students’ well-being.

So now I’m going to stop babbling and I’ll get to the point – to actually answering the question. To be able to do this, I’ll have to imagine myself sitting in the classroom as a student. I’ll have to go through a list of subjects I had at school, not just English as a foreign language, which, unlike maths, for example, I learned fairly easily and quickly. I’ll probably have to picture all the teachers I remember and pick the qualities which I appreciated at that time (or which I eventually realized were positives).

So, here goes.

The type of teacher I’d appreciate learning from:

  1. Someone who’s fully present in the classroom all the time, carefully registering what’s happening around. I believe attentive presence results in fairness and prevents conflicts.
  2. Someone who’s consistent even when it’s painful.
  3. Someone who loves the subject s/he teaches and shows others how they can learn to love it. In other words, someone who can pass his/her passion/love on to students.
  4. Someone who’s compassionate but not too ‘soft’.
  5. Someone who’s realistic regarding expectations and learning outcomes, i.e. someone who demands high but at the same time enables everybody to succeed.
  6. Someone who works hard but is not a workaholic. Teachers who have no life may take things too seriously and they may end up frustrated and burned out.

Now, I invite you to do the same if you have a spare minute or two. What type of teacher would you like to become, i.e. what type of teacher would you appreciate learning from? 🙂

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About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for more than 20 years. I love metaphors and inspiring discussions concerning teaching, learning and linguistics.
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8 Responses to Blog challenge: The type of teacher I’d appreciate learning from

  1. Hana, I can’t really agree with this, though I know where you are coming from. What about students who want to learn from a teacher that is different from the one we the teacher would appreciate learning from? Teaching is a transactional activity involving not just teacher/learner(s) and other stakeholders but also what is to be learned, materials and the environment it takes place. This means that teachers need to not be one static type but malleable and adaptive to the needs of the day, the wants of the students and the environment. We are performers/actors. Don’t be the teacher you’d like to learn from – be the teacher that meets the needs of your disparate group of learners – even if that means being different from your own learning style. Be pragmatic, take home the bacon, get the job done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hana Tichá says:

      Hi, David. I’m happy that my post provoked some disagreement. Thank you for that! 🙂 You say: “What about students who want to learn from a teacher that is different from the one we the teacher would appreciate learning from?” I think you hit the nail on the head; if you have a class of 30 students and every student has different needs, it’s impossible to satisfy them all. Moreover, you may see some of the demands as unrealistic, even undesirable. Anyway, I absolutely agree that a teacher needs to be adaptive and that teaching is a transactional activity. What I’m talking about here are the core beliefs and general attitudes rather than learning styles and methods. I should have made myself clearer. 🙂

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  2. I’m so happy that Josette’s answer inspired you to start this challenge! For me, Josette represents everything the humanistic approach to teaching entails – her constant effort to dig deeper, discover more about herself and eventually about others makes me feel she’s a teacher I’m already learning a lot from 🙂 Apart from that though, I think that I’d appreciate learning from someone who’s devoted, consistent and passionate about what they teach. I’ve seen how contagious our own enthusiasm and belief in something can be – it’s often the only thing that motivates others to do their best. Also, I like teachers who have embraced their human nature, those who aren’t afraid to make mistakes, who fail and then stand up and carry on. As a learner, seeing my teacher make mistakes would empower me to not be afraid of my own mistakes and flaws and see how I can learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hana Tichá says:

      I thank you for the inspiration, Maria. I second every word you say about Josette. And thanks for sharing your idea of the teacher you’d appreciate learning from. I think so far, we all have very similar preferences, no matter where we come from, how old/experienced we are and what our ambitions are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your kind words, Hana! That’s how this circle of sharing and learning works – we get inspiration from each other so that we can improve, move forward and become better teachers and people.

        Like

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