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Nicholas Sprague

October 27th, 2011

Essential Dispositions for Teachers of the Future


As we move into the future and the importance of quality education becomes more and more critical to our country and the world, good teachers are looking to make a difference. The differences they make will not only help the students they teach or the community that they live in, but will help change the world. Teachers can help enhance their students lives and change the world by exhibiting certain dispositions that are essential to being a great teacher. The first disposition essential to being a great teacher is being able to connect with ones students. This can be accomplished in many ways but the most important is listening to them. Learn what types of music they like or the movies they saw over the weekend and creatively weave, or scaffold, those interests into lessons. Creating this connection with the students will show them that the teacher cares about their lives, not just about their tests scores. When students realize that the teacher cares about them regardless of their personal attitudes, values, beliefs, and backgrounds- their self-esteem grows and they will be able to carry that self-worth with them for the rest of their lives. Accountability is the second essential disposition that great teachers should have. Teachers must possess classroom management skills and a strong understanding of their subject areas in order for them to be firm but fair with students from all backgrounds, but at the same time allow them to impart essential knowledge unto their students. Teachers should be accountable not just because the state or the principal is watching the results of

their classroom, but because they realize that their profession is the most important in our society. Accountability and dedication to the profession of teaching will help us to grow a stronger and more efficient educational system, and it will model to students that development and learning are lifelong characteristics. While having a firm grasp of ones content area certainly represents an essential disposition for teachers, as educators we must also foster a learning environment in which critical thinking and problem solving are crucial. Naturally, a great teacher must understand the importance of following the state standards, but we must also encourage students to make connections that go beyond facts, dates, and names. Providing opportunities for students to research, synthesize, and evaluate data will make them critical thinkers rather than fact repeaters. It will also help them understand and internalize information more efficiently. Facilitating discussions and giving opportunities for students to argue topics and formulate and challenge opinions pushes them to be critical thinkers and good citizens in their communities and in the world. Great educators must provide this environment for their students. Collaboration with students, fellow teachers, administrators, families, support staff, coaches, and the community is essential to creating an environment that will guide the student down his or her unique path of success. Collaboration with fellow teachers or coaches will promote a cross-curricular school culture that helps the students succeed by making connections in and out of school. Collaborating with fellow teachers also helps us improve our teaching strategies which lead to more effective instruction. Discussing individual needs of students with a guidance counselor or families leads to a greater

understanding of all factors that might affect a students attitude and performance. Asking students for suggestions and input allows the teacher to adapt and alter his/her teaching strategies to better suit the classroom population and also gives students more agency and interest in their education. Great teachers are never too proud to ask for help. Adaptability is the final essential disposition of being a great teacher. Students of any age are unpredictable and it is the teachers responsibility to be able to adapt to each students learning styles. Often times, the lesson that a teacher spent the weekend planning will fall on deaf ears and blank stares. Instead of trying to force the wellplanned lesson upon the students, it is essential for the teacher to show the creativity and resilience to make the lesson work for the students. Adaptability not only helps the students learn, but will also help the teacher become a better educator in the future. Accountability, collaboration, adaptability, the promotion of critical thinking, and making that special connection with students provides a teacher with part of the arsenal needed to succeed as an educator. They are certainly not the only dispositions that one will find in a great teacher, but one can be certain to find these in every extraordinary educator throughout the country and the world.