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What Determines a Good Teacher From a Bad One?

We have all had a teacher in our lives we loved. Some of you have had many teachers like that. They changed our lives and inspired us to greatness. We wanted to work hard to please them because we cared about them so much. They cared about us too.

Learning from such a teacher was almost effortless because they explained topics so well. No matter how hard the subject, they could find a way to make the  light go on and create an “ah ha” moment- we had lots of “ah ha” moments.

She or he had a passion to teach us and we felt that passion to help us learn; to help us see our life and things in a new waGood Teachery; to interest us in new ideas and expose us to new subjects and  to fascinate us. They gave us a life- long love of learning. That was a great teacher. To me, they are some of the most worthy people on earth.

We have also unfortunately had teachers who were tired of teaching; or who lacked interest. They didn’t seem to care if we learned or didn’t learn. They would not take an extra step or do anything other than what was required to get their pay check. I’ve had more than my share of teachers like that too.

Those folks should have stopped teaching when their passion left them. If they never were passionate about teaching, then they should have not become  teachers in the first place.

I am told that there is a room in the Los Angeles schools district where some of those teachers just sit in a room all day and pass the time getting paid.  It’s the only way to get them away from ruining students lives.

In our current system it is far too hard to dismiss such teachers. They hang on and on, wasting our time and discouraging students, putting them further and further behind where they should be.

But it isn’t all on the teacher! You have responsibility as well.

[newsletter_lock] Teaching can be quite difficult. I know because I taught college for several years and I had students, even in college, who had no interest in the subject matter.

They were there because the class was required. A difficult student can go a long way to discourage a teacher. I loved to teach – I still do- but parents need to take an active part and work and do their best to help their student along if they need help especially starting in elementary school on.

Tutors should be hired when your student is still in third or fourth grade to teach your child forward in math,  science and English one to two years. Those subjects and good communication skills are imperative. Then everything your student learns in class is only a review of what they already know. School is no longer scary. They excel and get exceptional grades and build enormous self confidence. Use of tutors should continue through high school so that your student can take advanced course work and graduate near the top of their class. Think how THAT would feel.

They will get into a great university, and if they apply themselves, do well and afterward get in to a great graduate school or should they chose instead, get a great job.

Education makes all the difference. It is the way to defeat poverty.  A tutor can help overcome a lousy teacher.

So interview your student and ask them lots of questions about their experiences in school every day, and take an active role in their school. Meet their teachers and ask them questions about whether they love to teach. Listen to the answers. See if you believe them. Ask other parents what they think about teachers of children ahead of your own. Your student might have that teacher next year. Be proactive. Use tutors. There are many services that provide tutors at little or no cost, so seek them out. Retired teachers can make great tutors.

Ask others in your neighborhood, or at church, or where you work.

Don’t be afraid to get involved and to speak to the principal of your child’s school if you have a concern. Solve the problem BEFORE it starts.

What thoughts can you offer readers that have worked for you? Tell us and we’ll print them.

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