How great is your teacher?

Well, first of all, it’s important to understand what the features of a great teacher are. Is it behavior? Is it style? Is it leadership? As a teacher, I understand that a great deal of factors can help me during my classes. And these factors are:

 1 – The way I look

In this topic I’m not going to approach fashion. This is a much deeper element. My appearance is very important, but not only if my clothes are clean or not ripped off. I’m talking about the way my eyes look (if they look confident, tired, bored etc.). A bad-looking teacher, who appears to be defeated by life, tired of teaching, bored with the way students are behaving, will certainly have the same effect on her/his students. So if a teacher looks prepared, healthy, joyful and if the pleasure that the teacher feels by teaching is visible, then the class is likely to be a success.

2 – The way I speak

If I speak in the same tone the whole time, if I speak low and slowly the whole time, if I speak quickly or too loud the whole time, students will sleep or feel very agitated. Thus, if teachers feel what they are teaching, the tone of voice will always change. Obviously, there are new subjects (speak loud) and old subjects (relax the voice a little bit). So, the teacher needs to follow this logic and try to create suspense and also understanding during the class.

3 – The way I lead

It’s not all about classroom leadership, but it’s a good amount of it. Teachers need to be in control. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying students must be scared. I’m saying that the teacher needs to be prepared and know how the class is going to be like. A lost teacher, with no sense of leadership and whatsoever will lead his/her students to failure. A teacher who is always in control is well prepared, has studied the subject to be taught and tries to come up with a scheme that makes things easier for the students to understand.

Among all of the factors above, there are even more subjects we can discuss. But for now, let’s talk about how to measure a good teacher. Is that even possible? Well, technically it isn’t. But practically, we can measure if a teacher is great by the way students come out of the class. If they look bored, tired and uninterested in the subjects previously presented, the teacher is not that good. But if, every time students go home, they think about the next class, wonder what will be the next activities, are curious about doing their homework and are laughing and happy, this is for sure a great teacher.

There are the special cases such as those who are studying because they have to do it. But that is a difficult problem to be solved only by the teacher. Student and teacher must have an honest conversation, talk about their fears, likes, dislikes in the classroom. If the teacher clears things up with the student, probably this student is going to consider changing the course or, finally, he or she is going to work harder and start appreciating the classroom environment.

To sum it up, great teachers love their jobs and do it happily. For them, it is not difficult to wake up early, to be friends with students, to talk about politics (because we DO have an important political role in the classroom) or to be open to talk about different issues with their students.

Now tell me, do you remember the most amazing teacher you have ever had? How was the class? What was different about this teacher? In your opinion, what makes great teachers great?

Here are some video suggestions about this topic:

Sobre a Autora: Flávia Fernandes atua em Curitiba, com os serviços de teaching, coaching e consulting. Autodidata, estuda inglês desde os 12 anos. Mesmo formada em Design, achou no ensino uma paixão. Hoje, tem sua escola e seu método: Make it Easier (

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