In five years’ time the type of teacher that I would like to be is a “good teacher’, but within the “good teacher” there are different qualities which define a “good teacher” from just a teacher. What qualities are required to be a “good teacher”? There are three key qualities which are required to make a “good teacher” which Moore (2004) highlights. The first area which is said to be a quality of a “good teacher” is the teacher being a dynamic individual (Moore, 2004). The second key quality which Moore (2004) highlights is that teachers have good subject knowledge and are competent. There are three areas within this which are seen to be important, these are: how the classroom is organised and managed, how teachers adapt and change to different learner’s abilities and the teacher’s knowledge and understanding of the curriculum (Pinto et al, 2012). I will focus on the teacher’s knowledge and understanding of the curriculum and how teachers organise and manage their classroom (Pinto et al, 2012). Finally, one of the most important qualities which is required to be a “good teacher” is being a “Reflective Practitioner” (Moore, 2004). This is seen as being important because if teachers are able to reflect on their own teaching methods it will allow them to see what is successful with their practice but also what is not so successful and why (Moore, 2004). The main question which is proposed throughout this essay is why do these qualities contribute to making you a “good teacher”?
The first discourse which Moore (2004) discusses is ‘The Charismatic Subject’ and why teachers should be dynamic individuals (Moore, 2004). For a teacher to be a dynamic individual they must carry many different personal qualities to make them stand out from teachers who simply just see teaching as a job (Pinto et al, 2012). Some of the qualities which people think a dynamic teacher should have include: being “passionate, enthusiastic, respectful and caring” (Pinto et al, 2012). Out of these four qualities the most important one, I feel, is that teachers should be caring. “Good teachers care” (Pinto et al, 2012). It is important for teachers to care because if they do not care about their pupils and just think of teaching as a ‘job’ children will more likely not want to come to school and will not excel and be passionate about learning (Pinto et al, 2012). Moore (2004) expands on this idea as he proposes that teachers should not just ‘teach’ or ‘pass on’ information but they should be ‘making a difference’ to the children in their class (Moore, 2004). In the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) they emphasise the importance of trust and respect for being a good teacher (GTCS, 2012). “Acting and behaving in ways that develop a culture of trust and respect through, for example, being trusting and respectful of others within the school community, and with all those involved in influencing the lives of learners in and beyond the school” (GTCS, 2012), this is suggesting that, as teacher, you are not trying to just gain the trust and respect of the children in the class but you also respect them the people who they deal with on day to day basis within and out with the school (GTCS, 2012).
A teacher’s personality plays a large part in the idea of them being dynamic individuals (Moore, 2004), although many people say that good teachers are “born not made” (Moore, 2004; Pinto et al, 2012), which suggests that the qualities of a ‘good teacher’ have always been there and cannot be achieved (Moore, 2004). This creates problems, especially for new teachers, as it makes them feel that no matter, although they are qualified, they will never reach the level of being a ‘good teacher’ (Pinto et al, 2012). In five years’ time, when I am a newly qualified teacher, I will be thinking about many of the teachers which have both taught me but also who I have seen on my PEP days who have made an impact on me as a teacher. Many new teachers look to teachers they had to see how they made their classes interesting and enjoyable, but instead of taking things directly from them and using them, by looking at them more closely to see why the children in that particular class liked the teacher and excelled in that class (Moore, 2004). This technique allows new teachers to see what type of characteristics the children have the most positive reactions and outcomes from (Moore, 2004). Why is this important for me? Being a dynamic individual is important for being a “good teacher” because, for me, one of the most important aspects of being a ‘good’ teacher is that you care for your class and want them to not just learn facts but to develop their ways of thinking and learning (Moore, 2004). Not only do you want to care for your class but you also want them to have respect for you as the teacher. As the GTCS (2012) propose, the idea of respect comes from you respecting them and the people with whom they deal with, not just within the school but out with the school on a day to day basis.
The second area of discourse Moore (2004) addresses is that to be a “good teacher” you must have both good subject knowledge and also be competent. Competency must be achieved in all aspects of teaching but the main areas which are seen to require the greatest levels of competency are; how teachers adapt and change to different learner’s abilities, the teacher’s knowledge and understanding of the curriculum and how the teacher’s classroom is organised and managed (Pinto et al, 2012). The two key areas which I will focus on are; the teacher’s knowledge and understanding of the curriculum and how the teacher’s classroom is organised and managed (Pinto et al, 2012). Teachers are required to have a good understanding of all of the subject areas which are an essential part of the curriculum (Connell, 2009). As well as the curriculum, technology now plays a large part in our everyday lives and is used widely throughout schools (Connell, 2009), teachers should be confident and able to use new technology to teach the curriculum as it is becoming more common for technology to be used in school (Connell, 2009). “The most effective teachers have a deep knowledge of the subjects they teach” (Coe et al, 2014), if teachers do not have the required level of knowledge this could have a catastrophic effect on the children in their classes’ learning (Coe et al, 2014). Not only should teachers have a strong knowledge of the curriculum but also should be able to understand the way that different children think and consolidate what they have been taught (Coe et al, 2014). This links to the idea of teachers adapting and changing to the way different children think and learn (Pinto et al, 2012). Many studies have shown that there is a connection between how much subject knowledge a teacher has to how well their students understand and achieve things (Coe et al, 2014).
The General Teaching Council of Scotland require teachers to reach certain standards to gain full registration (GTCS, 2012). Part of the registration process requires teachers to be at a certain level of “knowledge and understanding of the curriculum and its development” (GTCS, 2012), this includes key areas that need to be fulfilled such as; “Registered teachers have secure working knowledge and detailed understanding of the processes of change and development in the curriculum” and “know how to identify and highlight connections with other curricular areas, stages or sectors, promoting learning beyond subject boundaries” (GTCS, 2012). These areas suggest that teachers should not just know what is required from the curriculum but also should know about how and why it changes and the similarities and the differences and how to link different curricular areas together (GTCS, 2012). Classroom management and organisation plays a large part in getting the most out of children and their learning; “A teacher’s abilities to make efficient use of lesson time, to coordinate classroom resources and space, and to manage students’ behaviour with clear rules that are consistently enforced, are all relevant to maximising the learning that can take place” (Coe et al, 2012). The GTCS states as one of their outcomes that “Teachers should create a safe, caring and purposeful learning environment” (GTCS, 2012). Teachers need to be “effective planners” (Moore, 2004) and “classroom managers” (Moore, 2004), not only this they also have to be organised as individuals and be prepared for whatever is thrown at them (Moore, 2004). Lesson preparation falls under the area of classroom organisation and teachers should look more closely at the ideas and purpose of one lesson and link them with lessons which will follow (Moore, 2004). Having good subject knowledge and being competent is important to me for becoming a ‘good’ teacher because having more knowledge than what is required is better than not having enough and allows children to reach their full potential in each curricula area (Coe et al, 2012). Being able to reach the GTCS standards will also help me become a ‘good’ teacher as they set out the minimum standard which is required and allows you to reach that and go further with it (GTCS, 2012).
The final, and the discourse I feel is most important which Moore (2004) discusses is “The Reflective Practitioner Model”, which is seen to be important in becoming a “good teacher’ as it allows teachers to be able to reflect on their own teaching to see what areas were successful but also what areas were not as successful (Moore, 2004). “critical thinking has been perceived as a way of improving professional practice rather than simply recreating professional knowledge” (Tarrent, 2013), this reinforces the idea which Moore (2004) proposes. Being a reflective practitioner plays an important role in developing the status of a “good teacher” because being able to reflect will allow you to develop as a professional and will help you to become more aware of things which you do well and the thing which you are not as good at, and why that is the case (Tarrent, 2013). Personal reflection will help us to develop our own professional identity (Tarrent, 2013); “across society, professionalism increasingly refers to an individual’s attitude and behaviour, rather than a group’s formal status and collective identity” (Sachs, 2003). The process of reflection allows our professional identity to keep on developing and will allow you as a teacher to develop and expand professionally (Tarrent, 2013). As part of the GTCS’ requirements for full registration they require teachers to fulfil as part of personal reflection. These include; “Read and critically engage with professional literature, educational research and policy” (GTCS, 2012) which links closely to the second area of discourse of subject knowledge which will allow teachers to keep up to date with the curriculum and expand on their knowledge (Coe et al, 2012). “Engage in reflective practice continually to develop and advance career-long professional learning and expertise” (GTCS, 2012), this shows that reflection is life long and is not just something which is done once, as it will allow us to improve and develop as teachers.
A key area which Pinto et al (2012) discusses is that one of the most important things for a reflective practitioner to be able to do is that they are not only interested in developing their own practice or professional identity but working with their colleagues to take their advice but also help them to reflect on their own practice (Pinto et al, 2012). Twitter has been shown that it can be used for educational purposes (Visser et al, 2014). One of the findings shows that Twitter can mainly be used for teachers own professional and personal development, which links to our own professional learning and development, but can also be used for improved classroom management (Visser et al, 2014). Reflection is an important factor of being a ‘good’ teacher as it allows us not only to develop our own professional identity or practice but allows us to help other to develop as well (Pinto et al, 2012).
To conclude, in five years’ time, I would like to be a good teacher carrying all of the skills and qualities which are highlighted in this essay. Firstly, being a dynamic individual, and having many different qualities will allow me as a teacher to care for my class but also respect them and from this will gain their respect and the respect of the people whom they deal with everyday (GTCS, 2012; Moore, 2004). Secondly, being knowledgeable about the curriculum and having good classroom management skills will allow children to reach their full potential (Coe et al, 2012), and will allow teachers to develop also (GTCS, 2012) which leads onto the final area of discourse. Being a “Reflective Practitioner” allows us as teachers to develop our professional identity and practice but also allows us to help other teachers develop as well (Pinto et al, 2012). These factors will help me to develop as a teacher, leading to me becoming a “good” teacher. These factors will also help children to become better learners and these positive traits will reflect onto my pupils.