Saturday, July 11, 2009


I'm presenting at the National I CAN seminar on Monday, the 13th. My presentation will deal with " what great teachers do differently."
This is what I've found from a variety of sources, readings and conversations within my PLN.
Great teachers:
Have a high level of expectations for their students but also for themselves.
Of course it's easy to have high expectations, even the ineffective teacher can expect their students to be engaged and pay attention when the material may be boring and irrelevant or expect students to behave despite being treated with disrespect. The great teacher is also an effective teacher. They focus on themselves and their performance. They don't play the "if" game. If we only had better discipline, if their parents supported us, if they had better teachers last year.
Demonstrate an aura of positivity and set the tone for their classes.
Positive attitudes are contagious. Great teachers realize negativity doesn't solve the problems and in some cases actually adds to the problem. They want to be part of the solution.
Believe that all students can learn.
Great teachers build relationships with their students. When students arrive on Day 1 we have their respect(for the most part.) What a tremendous gift we have been given. Great teachers utilize this gift in their teaching. They establish relationship respect with the students. Their students know the teachers are there for them when needed and that the teachers are on their side. It is cool to care.
Deliver effective instruction using varied instructional techniques and have a high level of engagement in their classes.
The key word here is varied. Many teachers fall into the rut of "this worked 20 years ago it will work today." Times have changed. We changed centuries a while back and it's important our teaching methodology reflects the 21st century.
Recognize the individual differences between students and plan accordingly.
Great teachers differentiate instruction and assessments. They realize that students learn differently and plan for multiple assessments to evaluate understanding.
Model what it means to be an educated person.
Great teachers read, write , create and are willing to try new things. They realize learning a new skill is difficult and they place themselves in this learning cycle often.
Examine their practice on a regular basis and incorporate new methods in their teaching.
Great teachers seek to deepen their knowledge and expand their repertoire of skills. They are not satisfied with the "same old, same old routine." This also means they are comfortable with technology in the classroom. Given the realities of our modern age and the demands of our children's future in the 21st century, is it really alright to allow teachers to not use technology in their instruction? Our tools have changed. Web 2.0 technology is here and great teachers are comfortable utilizing it.
Collaborate with others to improve student learning.
Great teachers collaborate with others. We may teach with our doors closed but we cannot be an island isolated from the world of education.
Are active members in a PLN.
Great teachers don't just rely on their peer teachers across the hall, they seek out others world wide, always looking for better ways to educate their students.
Who's in your network?
See my links and blog list on the right.

After the seminar, I will post discussion points we talked about.

Mr. Gerry Kosater

There are two paths you can choose but there's always time to change the one you choose