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How Do Good Teachers View Their Work?

How Do Good Teachers View Their Work? (Module 1.5)

According to the National Education Association (NEA 1997), almost 2/3 of all teachers say that they "certainly" or "probably would" become a teacher again, if they could start all over. Teacher's say that their greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that they "made a difference" in students' lives. What good teachers do can be described in terms of five modes of teaching (according to Becoming a Teacher, by Forrest W Parkay and Beverly Hardcastle Stanford, fifth edition).

1. A way of being..

The role of a teacher becomes part of you. The teacher reads good books and watches good TV.

"They become living examples for their students, showing that what they say is important enough for them to apply to their own lives. They are attractive models who advertise, by their very being, that learning does produce wondrous results."(Zehm and Kottler 1993, 16)

2. A creative endeavor......

Teaching is a creative endeavor in which the teacher is continually shaping and reshaping lessons, events and student experiences. Teachers actually develop "educational relationships" with their students. For instance, a math teacher may find a way to get each student to "want" to do well in the class.

"In metaphorical terms, teaching is....more than carrying brick, mortar, and shovel. Rather, it implies being the architect of one's classroom world." (The Call to Teach, David Hansen (1995,13)

3. A live performance....

Teaching is actually a live performance, and some teacher embrace this performance more so than others. These kind of teachers believe that through their performance lies true learning.

"Teaching is full of surprises;classroom lessons that lead to unexpected questions and insights;lessons that fail despite elaborate planning;spur-of-the-moment activities that work beautifully and that may change the direction of a course;students who grow and learn;students who seem to regress or grow distant"(Hansen 1995,12).


4. A form of empowerment...

Teachers control many things in a classroom. They are responsible for what actually happens when students are with them. Teachers set the pace, evaluating process, and actually determine if a student passes or fails. That is a lot of power. How a teacher used this power is critical.


"They (students) can sense how a teacher feels, especially how she feels about them personally. Students often find themselves locked into a role that they have played for so long they don't know how to get out of it. Students deserve the right to have an education. They should not have to worry about what negative comments their teachers are saying about them" (Rand and Shelton-Colangelo 1999, 107).

5. An opportunity to serve.....

Teachers become teachers to serve others professionally.

From the authors of On Being a Teacher

Very few people go into education in the first place to become rich or famous. On some level, every teacher gets a special thrill out of helping others...(The) teachers who flourish, those who are loved by their students and revered by their colleagues, are those who feel tremendous dedication and concern for others-not just because they are paid to do so, but because it is their nature and their ethical responsibility (Zehm and Kottler 1993, 8-9)

Remember....The American Dream....

The belief that education can improve the quality of life....could teachers possibly be the Keepers of the Dream???



Modes of Teaching-different aspects of the teaching function--for example, teaching as a way of being, as a creative endeavor, as a live performance, and so on.

Activity 1

Choose one of the descriptions above and write a paragraph about the topic. Include the answers to the following questions.

What do you think that this quote means?

Do you know a teacher that fits this description?




Most of the material in module 1 was taken from Becoming a Teacher, fifth edition,by Forrest W. Parkay and Beverly Hardcastle Stanford.


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