Qualities of teachers vary greatly. On one hand, a great elementary teacher might not be the best college professor, while a science teacher might be the worst English teacher you’ve ever had. However, there are some things that make a teacher from a good one to a great one, and even to one that you’ll remember years later when you can still recall information from their class.
The single most important thing for a highly effective teacher is that they need to know the material they are teaching. The teacher could be amazing with students and be a natural at getting the point across, but there’s no hope if they don’t know the material they are teaching like the back of their hand.
Close behind that comes treating students like equals. This is especially true of high school teachers, as students at that age are rebellious and want to be recognized and respected. If a teacher can understand that students need to be talked to at equal levels and not down to, not only will the teacher be more respected and well liked but their job will get much easier; kids will feel more comfortable presenting their ideas in class, creating a more conducive learning environment.
What material is covered in class and what is given for homework are important parts of the curriculum as well. If a teacher gives hours and hours of so-called “busy work”, students will be less inclined to waste their time on assignments perhaps not even related to what they cover in class. On the other hand, having no homework at all does not reinforce ideas and material learned. Homework amounts vary from class to class, as well as between subjects. Math homework is a necessary evil in student’s eyes, as is reading books for English, outlining reading assignments for history, preparing for labs in science, and doing other miscellaneous work for their electives.
All in all, a teacher must connect all of their assignments to relevant topics or main ideas. Having students study vocabulary makes a lot more sense when you tell them that it is in preparation for the SAT, rather than just giving them endless vocab lists to learn. An amazing teacher will stay in student’s minds and hearts for years after they graduate their class, and gems of wisdom often sneak in as well. A truly effective teacher will see their former students many times when they revisit campus, to tell them about their progress and thanking the teacher for their help.