How do I use my personal qualities to become a good teacher?
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Everyone has different personal qualities, so your response will be about the unique you. As Parker Palmer said, "We teach who we are." Let's talk about some qualities people have and how they can make a person a good teacher, and then I'll share with you some qualities I hope make me a good teacher.
If you are shy, don't think you can't be a good teacher. You can use that to your advantage. Students sense when a teacher is shy, and it can make them more open to you. You aren't going to come on too strongly, so they won't back away. You will also have more empathy for the shy students, able to draw them out more easily.
If you are a very honest person, that will shine through in everything you do in the classroom. You will be a role model for honesty. If you are teaching students about academic honesty, for example, you will do so with great conviction. And students will take you very seriously.
If you are a flexible person, that is a great quality to bring to teaching. No matter how well we plan, things always happen to throw off our plans, and a flexible teacher can deal with this more easily. We might be interrupted with announcements or have a day when half the class is missing and the group project planned cannot possibly work. A good teacher deals with these things and stays unruffled and in control.
I like to think that my sense of humor has made me a good teacher, able to find humor in everyday moments in the classroom and able to laugh at myself when I make a mistake. And I do make mistakes. Sometimes I even tell little stories about some of my mistakes. The students laugh, but they are also learning that even teachers are not perfect, and that it's always good to be able to laugh at yourself at least a little.
I am also a very curious person, and this, too, I think, has made me a good teacher. I am curious about my students, who they are, what they believe, what knowledge they have that I don't have. My curiosity is also what makes me knowledgeable in my content areas and sometimes even beyond my content areas. It makes me a lifelong learner, which every teacher really should be.
I don't know if you have done any practice teaching yet, but if you have, try to reflect upon what it is about you that makes students respond to you, and that should help you with this assignment. What you do want to do is understand that you cannot change who you are and that you have some valuable qualities that will make you a good teacher. You will be able to take some satisfaction in teaching who you are.
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