What makes a good teacher?

Hint: It starts with getting their attention.

What makes a good teacher?

What makes a good teacher? 1024 768 Looking out Loud

This is a Daily Moment—short perspectives on life and times through a dad’s eye.

December 5, 2021

What makes a good teacher? On our walk to school today, I asked my kids. Their answers were clear and unanimous: a good teacher is fun. Some words they used: they’re funny, they make jokes, they do fun stuff, they have a little bit of energy, and they wave their hands around a lot.

I suppose this surprises no one. Kids love to be entertained, right? But what does this have to do with teaching? I asked why they think it’s important for a teacher to be fun and, well, I’ll let my kids explain it:

“We learn because she’s catching our attention.”

My other child agreed:

“​​And people are in la-la land, and she makes some sort of joke, we all laugh, and then we pay attention.”

So wait, can you sum up why having fun helps you to learn?

“We understand it because we’re paying attention.”

They learn because they’re paying attention. Huh. So, paying attention is a prerequisite for learning. And having fun or being engaging is one way to get that attention.

If I were a teacher, I’d be paying attention to that advice.

→ I bombed at being my own kid’s teacher. When I dug in, I found out why.

→ This isn’t just for kids. You can protect a whole day, then waste it thanks to wandering attention.

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