Teacher Appreciation Week might be over, but Learning A-Z honors educators and the teaching profession year-round with products that help teachers organize and deliver thoughtful literacy instruction. Our products work because they complement the qualities that all great teachers bring to the classroom. Some of these qualities are included in this non-exhaustive list.
1. Clever Communicators
Great teachers are not only experts at reading a room, but they are also skilled listeners who notice how students talk about themselves, their assignments, and their learning. By listening carefully to each individual students’ needs, great teachers recognize communication patterns that indicate how a student is adjusting to learning new material or relating to his/her classmates. Over time, these communication patterns signal to a teacher what a student needs, even if the student cannot articulate it at the moment.
From lesson planning and grading, to coordinating small group and whole-class instruction, there is no shortage of activities that need to be completed each day in the classroom. Great teachers quickly assess what needs to be done, how long a task will take, and how to lead into an lesson afterwards. As great teachers move from activity to activity they often assume different roles—from parent advocate to student counselor, to scientist or on some days, even nurse—to meet students’ needs.
3. Perfect Planners
A teacher’s work is never done, and there is always more to plan and strategize. A great teacher is also a psychic who can see 6 months to a year into the future as he/she plans daily and weekly experiences that lead up to larger learning goals. Great teachers know that summer vacation is a misnomer—it’s a busy time of creating unit plans for the upcoming year, gathering materials, and setting up the classroom to ensure that a students’ days are seamlessly organized when they return to school.
4. Inclusive Influencers
Great teachers understand that even if students don’t remember every grammar rule or how to reduce fractions, they will always remember how a teacher made them feel. The most productive and positive learning environments are created by compassionate teachers who understand that when students feel included and valued, they can learn anything.
5. Fabulous Facilitators
The best teachers know that learning doesn’t happen through the passive absorption of information: it happens when students can construct knowledge for themselves. Great teachers break down complex concepts into smaller activities that students can accomplish on their own, and then facilitate moments that allow students to practice and explore new skills for themselves.
6. Creative Composers
Most teachers graduate from certification programs that demand some serious mental gymnastics. A typical assignment asks an aspiring teacher to compose a unit plan that combines poetry, grammar, parts of speech, and hands-on activities that demonstrate state standards and prepare students for high-stakes testing, not to mention equipping them with the skills they need to be productive members of 21st century society. Great teachers creatively combine seemingly disparate materials and activities into cohesive plans and activities that engage students in learning necessary skills while having fun.