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How To Be A Great Teacher

Popularity 13Viewed 11133 times 2014-1-10 06:47 |Personal category:Education|System category:Life

I'm not good at a lot of things. But I learned a long time ago that I need to focus on what interests me most and become good at that. I found that what I love most is teaching others. In teaching them, I get to encourage them, inspire them and empower them to realize just how great they are. 

I believe in people. Most people need someone with the courage to tell them that they can achieve great things. Positive motivation always is much more powerful than any attempts at negative motivation.

I've taught nearly 2,000 students since I came to China in 2011. I've trained several hundred Chinese English teachers. I've learned what is truly effective in teaching. Let me share a few of the things I've discovered.

1. Students must respect you as a teacher - I've found that Chinese students have a hunger to learn. They are motivated to learn. I would say 'hungry' to learn. They respect a teacher who truly has a heart for them to learn. They are wise enough to know if you are a sincere and mature teacher. They respect you if you are sincere.

I teach IELTS at a local Middle School/High School. Even though the students don't have a high level of English there, they are still great students. They pay very close attention in class. I have their respect. I won't tolerate sleeping in class and will not allow complacency. I approach every student as if they are hungry to learn from me. They feel this and they respect me for it. Respect is important because it does something in the brain of a student. It opens their minds and causes the right chemicals to flow in their brains that helps them to learn better and faster.

2. Your students must like you - Respect alone is not enough. This is where good and bad teachers are very different. Everyone wants someone to care about them and their feelings. 

Recently, a teacher told me that she can 'force' her students to learn. I asked her 'how'. She said that she will require so much homework for them until it makes them miserable. Then, she said, they will be forced to learn. In my opinion, this is treating a human being like an animal. You can beat an animal into submission. This approach isn't much different. And, it is only effective temporarily and to a limit extent.

It is easier on the student and the teacher if the student not only respects you because they know you really care about them, but, also, that they like you as a person. When you like something, you want more of it. Too many teachers do not understand this. They see themselves as taskmasters. You can force them to do what you want them to do, but, you must make them want to learn. This takes a higher level of intelligence and understanding on the part of the teacher. Too many teachers go to college, get their degrees, get certified to teach and then, stop developing themselves as teachers.

I'm 55 years old and I'm still learning, discovering and using new and innovative ways of teaching. But most importantly, I let my students know that I am 'for' them. I'm on their side in their struggle to get good grades and scores. I'm here to set them up for success, not failure. If you treat a student like an animal, they will learn about as much as an animal could learn. They will never become brilliant. But if you treat them as blank canvases on which you can paint a masterpiece, then, you will take responsibility to teach them in the very best way that they can truly learn. To teach them with old, ineffective ways is to do little in really helping them to learn.

These are the two most important aspects of being a great teacher.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report liu5222512 2014-1-10 18:16
Thanks for your sharing.
Learn a lot.
Though I am not a teacher.
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-1-10 19:48
liu5222512: Thanks for your sharing.
Learn a lot.
Though I am not a teacher.
You're welcome.
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2014-1-10 20:19
My kudo to your passion for teaching!
Reply Report LuoJeason 2014-1-10 23:44
I like reading your blog. As i can understand it easily and also learn some information useful from it.
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-1-11 03:33
LuoJeason: I like reading your blog. As i can understand it easily and also learn some information useful from it.
Thank you Luo.
Reply Report voice_cd 2014-1-13 09:13
Your article has been recommended to the homepage. Thanks for sharing here !
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-1-13 10:43
voice_cd: Your article has been recommended to the homepage. Thanks for sharing here !
O.k. Good. Thanks
Reply Report zcczcl 2014-1-13 19:27
i wanna be a teacher in the future and i am so impressed by ur sharing of how to be a good teacher and i truly benefited a lot. Based on my own experience of being a tutor as a part-time job, i sincerely feel that passion of teaching and love to students are priorities of being a good teacher. meanwhile a good teacher should be knowledgable which is the basic requirement of a teacher.
Reply Report zhaoguangshou 2014-1-13 19:43
VERY GOOD!
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-1-13 22:04
zhaoguangshou: VERY GOOD!
Thank you!
Reply Report coldasice 2014-1-24 03:54
I found this blog so good that I had to register just to say: Good job!!  
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-1-24 06:02
coldasice: I found this blog so good that I had to register just to say: Good job!!   
Thank you so much. I appreciate you.
Reply Report shirleyruan 2014-1-28 09:53
Good article. Thank you for sharing.
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-1-28 19:02
shirleyruan: Good article. Thank you for sharing.
You're welcome
Reply Report dongfangyixue 2014-2-3 10:30
You are really a good teacher and you know how to arouse their interest and stimulate their potential ,the children are lucky to have you.
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-2-3 18:37
dongfangyixue: You are really a good teacher and you know how to arouse their interest and stimulate their potential ,the children are lucky to have you.
Thank you. You are very kind. I appreciate you.
Reply Report 飘散的风 2014-2-17 11:49
These are the two most important aspects of being a great teacher,and these are important of a  good  mother,for my child ,i will try my best to do with these.
Reply Report Anna913914 2014-2-27 19:08
A wonderful passage from  an excellent teacher  called MichaeIM... Wish I would such a great teacher like him.   Keep trying using effective ways to teach my students. Never stop developed myself as a teacher.
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-2-27 21:48
Anna913914: A wonderful passage from  an excellent teacher  called MichaeIM... Wish I would such a great teacher like him.   Keep trying using effective ways to t ...
Thank you Anna. We must always develop ourselves more to be the best we can be.
Reply Report wanghy 2014-2-28 20:19
thank you, Michael! you must have contributed a lot to Chinese students! It would be very helpful for the pronunciationof Chinese students.

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MichaelM

Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.

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