Saturday, June 7, 2014

Saturday Sayings: Outstanding



"What are the qualities of an outstanding teacher?"  That was the first question asked as I sat in on a few interviews this week.  Being in the hot seat, the interviewees only had a few seconds to think about their answers, but I heard some great responses.  I came up with my own list.  I cheated since I had way more time to think about it and didn't have 6 people staring at me like they did.  I probably left off several qualities.  Feel free to add them to my list when you comment.  By the way, they are in no special order.

* An outstanding teacher inspires.  They don't simply convey information.  They grow greatness in each student academically, socially, and personally.

* An outstanding teacher has great classroom management.  The culture and atmosphere of their classroom environment allows for more learning and less managing.  

* An outstanding teacher is organized.  There are so many balls to juggle as a teacher.  If balls are falling everywhere from disorganization, it has the potential to interfere with student learning.

* An outstanding teacher constantly reflects.  They can verbalize what they can improve upon, as well as what they're doing well.  They also know why they're doing what they're doing.

* An outstanding teacher is a gatekeeper.  They stand at the door of their classroom and protect their students from unhealthy practices.  They don't allow something in the door simply because everyone else is doing it.

* An outstanding teacher never stops growing.  They don't allow themselves the satisfaction of thinking they know it all.  They pursue their own professional development.

* An outstanding teacher has high expectations.  They know what their students have the potential to do both academically and behaviorally and teach their students from day one the habits of reaching those expectations.

* An outstanding teacher strives for real-world instruction.  There's authenticity, meaning, and purpose to what they ask of their students. 

Again, what are the qualities of an outstanding teacher?  It's a perfect question to ask possible new additions to a school staff, especially considering the correlation between teacher quality and student achievement.  It's also a great question to ponder as someone who's been doing this job for 20 years.  There are days, weeks, or maybe even months when being outstanding seems like a lofty goal, but these qualities remind me that several little people are counting on me to strive to be at the top of my game at all times. 


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16 comments:

  1. An outstanding teacher is compassionate. They take the time to learn about their students' history and connect not just on an academic level but on a personal level too.

    Laurie
    First Grade Lyons' Den

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    1. Laurie, you're very right. Thank you for adding this.

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  2. Great interview question Tammy, great reflective question too. Teaching is a lot like motherhood in that it comes with a whole bushel of guilt when said teacher feel less than outstanding, which can often be daily...but maybe that's something else that makes an outstanding teacher the drive to do more, be more...good post!

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    1. Tammy, sure thing. An outstanding teacher can handle those moments when they're not outstanding. Those moments put a fire in their belly to be better.

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  3. More rich food for thought! Thank you.

    An outstanding teacher can see life through a child's eyes, is able to live in a child's world, and connect with that child's heart.

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    1. Barbara, yes beautifully said. Amen.

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  4. After being on so many interviews at one point trying to find a job, I LOVE being on the other side of the tabel. What a great question! Your answers are so true-the idea of a gatekeeper is a great one.

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    1. Miss Trayers, I borrowed the term "gatekeepers" from Regie Routman. She's so smart.

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  5. You would have aced the interview! My answer would be an outstanding teachers says what they mean and means what they say. This really fits under your category of having good classroom management.

    Tara
    The Math Maniac

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    1. Tara, thanks for the vote of confidence! I'm not sure I could have come up with those on the spur of the moment though. My brain needs time to think. :)

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  6. Excellent list! I hope your school was able to find some teachers who could answer these questions in the way you answered them!
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

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  7. I agree with the whole list and, though I've never thought about it, the part about pursuing ones own professional development is so true. I would add a great teacher needs to be an explorer and an inspirational inquizitor. The person to open the world to children and instill in them the belief that there is always something to learn and discover. Also, they need to be able to make mistakes.

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    1. Kelly, yes great points. Thank you for adding your thoughts to the mix.

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