Teachers help students acquire knowledge and become competent in all subject areas. After teachers have met the requirements for having and using a teaching credential, it seems one expectation is for them to be a “high-quality” teacher. How does a person become a “high-quality” teacher? Teacher quality has been consistently identified as the most important school-based factor in student achievement, and teacher effects on student learning have been found to be cumulative and long-lasting. So why is it that we do not know how to describe a quality teacher? Quality means that a distinctive attribute or characteristic is possessed by someone. There is no firm consensus within the field of education as to exactly what constitutes high-quality teaching or a quality teacher.
We do know that a quality teacher is one who has a positive effect on student learning and development through a combination of knowing the content they teach and command of a broad set of pedagogic and communication skills. Quality teachers are lifelong learners, who are committed to their profession and their students, and are reflective upon their teaching practice. They help students learn through good communication and understanding. They are aware of learning styles, have some knowledge about child development, and the ability to use a broad array of practices to meet student needs. They set high expectations and support students in achieving them. They establish an environment conducive to learning and utilize available resources for all students.
I think we should pay close attention to helping teachers become “quality teachers.” Here is my take on creating a list of traits essential for becoming a quality teacher. Quality teachers: 1) want to be good teachers; 2) take risks; 3) never have enough time; 4) work to keep students and themselves off balance and expect them to venture out of their comfort zone often; 5) constantly evaluate and reevaluate their teaching.
I am going to spend more time reading about “high quality” teachers. Perhaps that will lead me to a better picture and a clearer definition. Doesn’t it boil down to teachers making an impact on students, so they are driven to learn and contribute?