On Being a Good Teacher

I recently got an e-mail from one of my former students.  He’s training to be a teacher and is about to walk into his first classroom next week.  He sent me an e-mail asking for teaching advice.  I was searching for something to say that would help him and I realized that just having a basic teacher’s mentality might help him the most.  Here’s what I wrote on being a good teacher.  What do you think?

Well, first of all, I think you are a good person and that’s important for any teacher!  I think you’ll be a good teacher. You have a positive attitude and you always try your best.  That is a great start!


Secondly, every teacher has a different style.  It takes a long time (years) to find a teaching style that suits you.  That’s okay.  You will probably feel nervous and you don’t know what to do next even though you are well prepared for the lesson.  That is perfectly natural.  As long as you are trying your best, most students will see that and appreciate it.  A bad teacher is not a person who makes mistakes.  A bad teacher is someone who doesn’t care and just gives up.  To be a good teacher is just caring about yourself and your students.  If you do only that, you will succeed.


Third, try to understand everyone makes mistakes.  I make mistakes all the time in class – even though I’ve been teaching for 10 years!  Sometimes, I get angry and say stupid things and students feel bad.  That’s okay!  The important thing is that you just keep going.  You will definitely get better at teaching as you get more experience. 50 per cent of good teaching is being prepared for the lesson.  50 per cent of teaching is just caring for your students and helping people. 


Finally, try your best to never think of students as “good students” or “bad students”.  They are just people.  They want to succeed.  Some of them have problems we can’t understand.  If you see a student misbehaving, it is always better to be nice to them.  


How did I do?  Did I miss anything?  Is there anything you would have said differently?