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Defining A 'Good' Teacher

In education it’s not always easy to define the term “good teacher.” However, it’s always said that you are as good as your accomplishments and what you produce. So, with that being said, being a “good teacher” should be defined by how you help your students right? That’s the argument that one professional is trying to make.

The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss posted a pretty impressive article by Paul Thomas, an associate professor of education at Furman University in South Carolina.

“For a very long time in the United States, the conventional wisdom has been that good schools were the key to just about everything—each child’s future, the nation’s economic survival, etc,” according to Thomas.

“More recently, that fantasy has narrowed to good teachers as the the “most important thing [fill in the blank].” And as I have examined, moving legislatively from No Child Left Behind to its successor K-12 education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, is unlikely to change that mantra, as delusional as it is.”

His definition came from his very own experience at a conference where former students of his were trying to become certified teachers. He prefaced his story by saying that he never quite saw the point in the “don’t be friends with your students” notion of going about the teacher student relationship.

“If any student of mine offers friendship, I am always deeply honored by the gesture,” said Thomas.

“It ranks equal to their respect for me as a person and appreciation of my credibility as a teacher.”

During the conference, Thomas was also able to discuss why students may feel as if they can’t be themselves around teachers out of fear of judgment as well as few other aspects of teaching that could be challenging.

Later on during a presentation from one some of his former students, Thomas realized that there were another four sitting in the room and he became overwhelmed with emotion. He was impressed with the poise and confidence that his former students have which led him to this statement:

 “’If you want to be seen as a good teacher, then just have good students,’ as I motioned to the three presenters and the four former students in the audience.”

Read the full story.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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