The greatest challenge that I have observed among students is boredom and disengagement. To eradicate this, a teacher must bring dynamic energy, relativism, and understandable instruction to the classroom.
The first and foremost thing that a teacher must do is to be excited about the given topic. The teacher’s own intimate knowledge and passion for a specified subject will spread if said teacher brings energy to the classroom, and to the subject matter. Even if the students do not have a particular desire to learn about a given topic, the enthusiasm of their teacher should intrigue and draw them into the lessons. Any teacher can teach facts to students, but a great teacher inspires learning among his/her students. I plan to always let my passion for the subject matter shine through my teaching.
The second point is that a teacher must make the content relevant to the students. Being primarily a math teacher, it can be difficult to make the content of a certain algorithm or formula relevant to the students’ lives, but it can also be easier, because what is being taught is not content itself, but comprehension. A good teacher can create relevance in a classroom by bringing real life examples and situations into what is being taught that day, making both the content interesting for the students, and teaching them the relevance of a given property. I plan to make the subject matter relevant to students by using such examples.
The third point is to make instruction engaging. Students can have the best intentions when sitting in a classroom, and even be intrigued by the subject matter, but I find that students rarely learn well when having to sit quietly and only listen to what the teacher is passing on to them. A teacher must maintain the students’ interests by breaking up lecture time with other things such as individual assignments, group activities, and even a relevant media clip once in a while. Allowing the change of pace continually refreshes the engagement level of most students, and given opportunities to work out what has just been taught them allows for multiple levels of understanding to take place. By hearing, seeing, and doing the work, students are best able to remember and subsequently understand what the teacher is teaching them. I plan to keep my instruction time to a minimum to both allow students to work out what has been taught, and to make use of the time that I have with them.
But, no matter how good instruction may be and how available the teacher might be for help, all students are different and have different strengths; some are better at tests and others at assignments. I plan to maximize my students’ strengths and minimize their weaknesses by emphasizing the greater mark (i.e. making assignments worth more than quizzes for those that do well in assignments, and vice versa).
A great teacher believes in his/her students, lets them know it, and has high, but realistic expectations for them. I have found that when students are not stretched in their learning, the content will have little impact on them immediately or in the future. But, when a teacher pushes students to go beyond their natural abilities and to be forced to learn so they can succeed, the content is more likely to stick with them, because they worked for it.
I plan to be a great teacher: one who relates to the students, and the students to the subject matter.