Thomas Gaudreau has many years of experience as a classroom teacher in South Dakota and Minnesota. His insights into the classroom enable him to understand what makes a great teacher. With proper training and education, teachers are more likely to succeed in the classroom. Gaudreau examines the characteristics of a quality classroom teacher and offers professional advice to help teachers perform up to their potential. 

Solid Fundamentals

It is crucial that any teacher has a thorough grounding in the subject at hand. This is difficult in the elementary grades, where teachers often need to teach every subject offered to their students. It is natural that teachers may gravitate more toward one subject than another, but students should be well-served in all subjects. Professional development can help with this problem, and teachers should use one another as mentors and subject resources. 

In every grade, teachers should have knowledge above and beyond their work in the classroom. This will enable them to teach students with advanced capabilities and to direct their instruction toward topics that will come up in later grades. Teaching in a bubble is not recommended. Teachers from lower grades can work together with teachers in upper grades to make sure that there is a consistent flow of information between these levels.

Personality

Some of the most important aspects of being a teacher can’t be taught in a classroom. Teachers need to balance an approachable demeanor with authority. Teachers need to avoid the temptation to be a friend to their students, and they need to keep their professional face up at all times. Teachers are attached to their students, but any favoritism should be kept hidden. Many adults have negative memories of teachers favoring one student over another. 

Allowing Curiosity

When dealing with the subject, teachers need to encourage students to explore. Allowing students to ask questions, no matter how trivial they may seem, is crucial to preserving students’ curiosity. Nothing shuts a student down faster than discouraging them from exploration. There is a fine line between allowing curiosity and allowing off-topic questions to derail a class. The best teachers know how to balance these two states. 

Classroom Management

The best teachers keep order in their classrooms without making waves. Teachers should not need outbursts to keep their classrooms running smoothly. Classroom management is largely a matter of experience, though education professors can help their students with the fundamentals they need to succeed. Teachers need to be firm but flexible. Each situation requires a different approach. Threats and emotional manipulation are damaging and may cause the classroom to fall out of control. 

Technical Facility

Teachers should have a thorough understanding of the technologies used in their school systems. When a teacher is unsure, valuable instructional time is lost. Staff and professional development in this area must be thorough, and teachers must devote some of their own free time to ensuring they know how to use these technologies. 

Teaching is an Art according to Thomas Gaudreau

Thomas Gaudreau believes that being a fine teacher is like being an artist, dancer, or musician. Teaching should look easy, while in fact, it is one of the most difficult professions. 

Teachers put in an incredible amount of work both inside and outside the classroom, and they are generally not compensated as well as they would be in other fields. When an administrator finds an excellent classroom teacher, they need to make sure they are happy in their job. When a teacher combines all of these values, he or she can make the best possible contribution to their school environment. Students will remember them for years to come, and other teachers look up to their example.