What Is an Effective Teacher?

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Assessment Item One – ‘What is an Effective Teacher?” Personal Beliefs - Abstract There is no definitive answer, rather levels of effectiveness. The accumulation of considerable experience teaching in both private industry and as a High School teacher has resulted in me anchoring my teaching practices on what I consider to be pedagogical lynchpins: passion, subject knowledge, exemplar teaching, equity, structure, high expectations of all students and student motivation. Additionally, I feel that teacher development is a critical factor for progressive, effective teaching to eventuate. Passion for teaching is paramount, because if I am not interested, then why should they (be)? If I have to sell a ‘product’, then it is one in which I must have my heart. Similarly, detailed and passionate knowledge of my subject is a given; as is the prerequisite of thorough research prior to and during the unit. Learning should be modelled, regardless of age or academic attainment. If I want commitment from my students, then I must do the same. Students need to see that there is equity in the classroom, including clear, consistent guidelines concerning procedures, expectations and discipline. This includes dress, behaviour and punctuality. Accessibility to students is promoted, although a professional ‘distance’ from my students is maintained to enforce equity and discipline. I am not their ‘mate’; I am their teacher and they must know there is a professional line. Is it not ironic then, that the very nature of teaching often makes us surrogate fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters? Students must be encouraged to do more than their best, for although it is clearly absolutist, we are all (or should be) capable of some intellectual development; achieving just enough to get by is a ‘cop-out’; we and our students should be challenged to grow. Completing my Bachelor’s
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