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Be a great teacher

Your journey towards being a teacher does not end when you finish your course – it will not really end until you are no longer a teacher.

It is for this reason that your course will provide you with experiences that help you to develop and enhance the skills and qualities that you will need to not only become a graduate teacher, but be a great teacher from then on.

Before reading on, pause for a minute to reflect on what you recall about the great teachers you have had in your life. What was it about them that you valued and appreciated?

Perhaps you will identify one key quality that they all had, such as kindness, or perhaps you will think of a few different qualities that certain individuals possessed as real strengths – one for her sense of humour, one for his passion for his subject, another for the amazing energy that she projected every day.

Now think about whether your judgement of what makes a great teacher has changed as you have matured – was that highly popular teacher that everyone loved at the time also a great teacher from your more mature perspective? Are there precious qualities that a great teacher possesses, that may not be outwardly evident? Must a great teacher be a popular extrovert?

Firstly, don’t be tempted to measure yourself against each of these and find a shortfall or fault because one quality is “missing”. It is not a checklist to rate yourself against.

It is designed to make explicit some of the commonly-agreed personal qualities that enable good teaching, and analyse them so that you can understand them better and think about where your strengths and weaknesses may be. Knowing your strengths is just as important as being aware of your weaknesses, because it is through drawing on your strengths that you will be able to work on those areas that need development. For instance, if you need to develop more patience and tolerance, but you know you have a great sense of humour and positive attitude, you may find ways to use humour to manage your impatience.

Please use this information and the tools and further resources as you wish: they are designed to help and support you and stimulate your thinking about what you will need in order to build and sustain a successful career as an education professional.