Knowledge of Mathematics:
A successful math teacher has an extensive knowledge of mathematics. She has taken multiple courses in algebra, geometry, statistics, calculus and other areas of mathematics at the college level and, possibly, even the graduate level. This knowledge allows her to confidently explain concepts and processes to her students. She is not constantly consulting the answer key in the back of the teacher’s guide to help students solve problems. This confidence boosts her credibility and helps students trust in her ability to teach them what they need to know.
Students learn in different ways, and a good math teacher understands that. She keeps up with the best practices in math education and regularly incorporates them into her instruction to help all of her students learn. She also understands there may be multiple ways to solve problems and uses those alternate strategies to help struggling students grasp difficult concepts. Her lesson plans engage students and help them feel confident in their mathematical abilities.
Care and Concern:
As any experienced teacher knows, teaching focuses less on the content being taught than the students being taught. A good math teacher cares about her students. She recognizes when a student is having a bad day or needs some encouragement and addresses the problem to help the student refocus on the material. While she holds students to high expectations, she recognizes that occasionally life gets in the way of homework and that studying sometimes take a back seat to family obligations. Therefore, she offers students second chances when warranted and takes time out of her own schedule to help students catch up.
Teaching and Creative Methodology:
Effective ESL teachers have a sound basis in ESL teaching methodology. Such teachers understand that language learning occurs when students are engaged in relevant experiential activities, using cooperative learning strategies more often than worksheets. According to Teach This, culturally aware ESL teachers incorporate what their students already know into their lessons, and an exceptional teacher has a variety of teaching methods for doing this at her fingertips. For example, an adroit teacher will have a handful of accent-reduction techniques at her disposal to help students speak English clearly.
Community Involvement and Student Care:
Being an ESL teacher can be somewhat like working as a social worker. Inevitably, you will learn that a student’s family is having difficulty filling out paperwork for a hospital visit or is getting the runaround from a landlord. Exceptional ESL teachers take the time to help students navigate these real-life problems or refer them to people who can offer assistance. Such teachers are also often involved in community events sponsored by their students and their students’ families, such as church tamale dinners and celebrations of cultural holidays.