Sunday, May 3, 2015

Students Share What They Want in a Teacher

Yesterday, I spent the day at a local elementary school participating in EdcampBirmingham. (Tomorrow's post will recap the conference - be sure to check back in!) At the conference, we were fortunate to have two sessions which were led by high school students who are members of the Hoover High School Ambassador program. 

The students did an incredible job of sharing their experiences in the classroom. In the first session, students shared how they have used technology (specifically their iPads) in the classroom as well as lessons that they found to be engaging. They also talked about digital citizenship and the management of technology. 

In the second session, the students discussed Effective Teaching Strategies. In general, they shared their experiences in the classroom with teachers that they felt were effective and characteristics or strategies that weren't so effective.

In the second session, I asked the panel the following question,
"If you got to hire the next teacher, what one characteristic would you be looking for? I want to hear from all of you and each answer should be different. You will probably agree with each other on the characteristics, and there are many that we look for. So I would like to hear the top 6 from this group."

Here's what the students said (in no particular order)

1. Be approachable and personable. I would look for someone that students could talk to, in class or out of class.

2. Someone who's motivating. Someone who will be there to catch students when they fall.

3. I want someone who's humble. Someone who says, "I've been in your shoes before." Someone who admits to failure.

4. I would look for a teacher who is dedicated to the students. Not someone who is there for him/herself or for the job. Someone who puts students first.

5. Someone who has good communication skills. I've been in a class where in November the teacher still didn't know my name. Good teachers will know their students and their names.

6. The teacher I would look for would care about their students. If they care about their students, they will do whatever they need to make sure students have what they need. They will make sure they are preparing their students for whatever tests or futures that they have coming up.

The students talked a lot about the importance of a teacher making mistakes and not being perfect. They said that it almost makes them hopeful, because when a teacher who does the work day in and day out makes a mistake, it makes it okay for them to make a mistake when learning something new.

Repeatedly, the students talked about the importance of a teacher being approachable. They also discussed the importance of encouragement by a teacher. 

Ask your students what they would look for... then find or BE those teachers!


  1. This is great information as I am applying for teaching jobs again. I love that you asked for student's perspective! We need to model in the classroom it is ok to make mistakes.


  2. Thanks for your comment, Allie. Our students were very thoughtful and truthful, and it comes back to relationships. They want someone who can develop them positively with students. Good luck in your job search,