What makes a good teacher?

Having read the article “What makes a good teacher” by BBC inspired me to reflect on this topic. Good question – what makes a good teacher?

In a way it would correspond to “What makes a good student?”A good student has been defined as motivated, engaged, creative, having character, appreciating team spirit, driven by inquiry, naturally curious, knowing how to use learning technology, applying acquired knowledge, keeping an open mind, etc. The same goes for teachers.

Another factor I might add is that a good sense of humor from the teacher’s side can contribute to a healthy dynamic in the classroom. I love interjecting a little joke here and there and, of course, it is not always appreciated by every student. But a good laugh is healthy and fosters better teacher-student relationships.

More respect can be had from students if the teacher is knowledgable. Not just in one’s own field, but in general areas, such as current trends, popular culture, etc. If not, then a 40-year-old teacher might come across as one’s own parent and they are “outdated” from some students’ viewpoints.

To encourage learning is a long voyage and often lacking in instant gratification on both sides of the desk. Therefore the teacher should be able to hold out and “help the wounded soldiers when they stumble.” A kind word of encouragement and highlighting a student’s strengths can produce positive results.

I will never forget my first-year French teacher, a very sympathetic beautiful young French woman with the lovely last name of Feinbier. Well, it was not her fault she was married to a German guy…. Anyway, she made French come to life with songs, encouragement, her personal skills, and her beautiful sounding French. She was my inspiration.

Lastly, I have to admit that my classes are very small; actually, I teach one-on-one. But the task is still the same. I often get tired and deflated students attending my lesson after they had a full day at school. I need to motivate and encourage them. I need to make them curious to the point they want to check out more information on the Internet about the topic we had just discussed. I need to be hip and cool and more understanding than their parents. The only challenge I don’t face is class management. Each one is under control, so to speak.

On tiring days I might think of my job as being a constant motivator and wonder who motivates me in return. But as soon as the student comes in and I get to cheer him/her up, this good deed gets returned. Therefore, it is important to remember the give-and-take principle, even in the classroom.

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” – John Cotton Dana

To read more on BBC’s article, click here:



  1. Good information on Pension Sprachschule Maria Shipley » Blog Archive » What makes a good teacher? . As I have read other online views on the same I think the details are well reflected on this.It was a good way of spending evening on Friday . I’ll visit again to read more on this website and hope to gain more knowledge.


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