What makes a good teacher? The answer to that question could probably fill up this entire newspaper.
I’m no expert but I think a great teacher has to have a long list of qualities.
These include an engaging personality and teaching style, high expect-ations for their students, a passion for their job, the ability to discipline when necessary and promote positive behaviour, a good rapport with students and the skill and imagination to make the most boring of subject matter interesting.
I could really go on and on and, as I type, I realise that it takes a special and talented kind of person to be an effective teacher.
I’ll ask you a slightly different question that is probably easier and quicker to answer. Who was your favourite teacher?
I bet you can answer that question instantly without much thought. I certainly can.
I think the best teachers leave their mark on us long after we leave the classroom.
I went to St Edmund’s secondary school in Portsmouth and two teachers that left a positive mark on me spring to mind.
Firstly, there was my history teacher Miss Dyke.
Do any children actually enjoy learning about the Second World War or Henry VIII?
Well I did. She had an amazing talent to convert what could be a difficult hour of the school day into a fun, interactive, interesting lesson and, most importantly, I learned a lot in those lessons and still have an interest in those subjects today.
Then there was Mrs Jackson, my English teacher, who had high expectations and taught me that hard work and persistence will get results.
At the time I complained I was getting too much homework. Now I realise it helped me bump my coursework mark up from a D to a B.
My daughter Caitlin is in her first year of school and I wonder in years to come which teachers will make an impression on her. But it seems her current teacher has already made a big impact.
After just six months at school her reading skills have improved consid- erably and sometimes she now corrects me if I pronounce a word wrong.
She recently reminded me that the word ‘water’ includes the letter t. I blame my Portsmouth accent.
But I think you know you have a great teacher if you experience a great feeling when they give you praise and feel disappointed when you’ve let them down.
When Caitlin sometimes misbehaves she’ll say ‘please don’t tell my teacher’, which I think speaks volumes.