What Makes a Good Teacher

Photo credit: https://gggbfa.blogspot.com/

Photo credit: https://gggbfa.blogspot.com/

Lyla Rouleau, Contributor

When I walk into a classroom, like a lot of other students, I expect the teacher to greet me. Whether it’s a quick,  “hello” or “how are you?” The importance is that at least one person throughout the entire day has asked me how I am doing. Although it’s easy to just respond with “good” or “fine,” the student is able to feel a sense of care. 

I’ve found that in my time here at BFA, I don’t feel like my teachers care about my well-being. When I turn in an assignment late, the first order of business is to slap that fat zero into my transferable skills grades, rather than the teacher approaching me and asking me why I didn’t submit my work. Maybe the night before I was so caught up in work, practice or family issues that I didn’t get around to submitting that one assignment that can affect my whole grade. 

What makes an effective teacher is one who gets to know a student on a personal level, rather than the student being just another person in their class. 

The majority of students struggle to get their work in on time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. School went from masks covering faces and the slim workload consisting of a virtual class followed by a few assignments, to students having to essentially re-enter high school with different expectations than before. 

In response to being asked what he felt about students not handing in assignments, Mead Sturgeon, who has taught courses such as AP Calculus and Statistics at BFA for 16 years, said, “I think completing assignments is certainly important to being successful in a class, but probably in the bigger picture knowing how students are doing in their lives and knowing that students are taking care of things in lives outside of school is more important in the long run.”  This is an example of how a teacher can take the steps to connect with his or her students, therefore the teacher is more personable with the student. 

I have found it difficult to connect with my teachers in order to explain to them my struggles after the pandemic. Being closed off from each other established a lack of communication and connection between me and my teachers. Therefore, once returning to full-time learning I felt unsuccessful and not supported by my teachers who I felt were supposed to aid the most in my learning. 

New teachers, such as Lauren Liberatore, who began a teaching career shortly before the pandemic, said after being asked what she thinks makes a personable teacher, “I think a teacher that’s approachable and creates an environment that’s really welcoming is what makes a good teacher.” Although it is easier said than done, creating an environment where students can feel comfortable with themselves is what is going to strengthen their confidence in a classroom. Rather than the students being just another face, there’s a sense of importance. 

Stephanie Hodgeman, one of the school guidance counselors at BFA, said, “A lot of kids walk into a classroom with a low confidence IQ, and it’s the teacher’s job to teach and make every kid feel like they can.” 

With that being said, she followed with the statement, “A good teacher makes every kid in the classroom feel the most competent. I think that’s really important.” 

I encourage teachers to rethink how they approach their classroom setting. Stop for a second and ask that student why they didn’t hand in their work before you jump to thinking about their transferable skills. Get to know your students, both those you feel are successful and struggling. It’s easy for students to feel ignored; don’t take the easy road.