From a Student’s Perspective: 5 Traits of My Favorite Teachers

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 -- Megan Sternke

As a college junior, I have plenty of experience with being in the classroom. But, my three months as an intern in Edmentum’s marketing department this summer offered the first opportunity to experience education from the other side of the chalkboard (or whiteboard, or smartboard—you understand where I’m coming from). In these three months, my respect for my own teachers and for educators in general has grown exponentially. I’ve learned about the challenges teachers face on a daily basis and the lengths they go to in order to help students—as a student, I’ve never fully appreciated how hard educators work.

So, let me start by saying THANK YOU! Hearing about all of the wonderful things that teachers working with Edmentum are doing has brought back memories of some of my own outstanding teachers. As my time here is wrapping up, I wanted to reflect on that and share five traits that have been common to my favorite teachers

Embracing my generation’s quirks

Millennials are known for being tech-savvy and craving flexibility, transparency, and recognition. My favorite teachers have embraced these traits and made adjustments in their teaching to accommodate, such as allowing flexibility within projects or incorporating more tech within the classroom.

Really using Twitter

Yes, many teachers use Twitter to communicate reminders on projects and assignments, but my favorite teachers have used the app to do so much more. They would often share cool articles about the topics we discussed in class that I never would have found myself–and Twitter really gets fun when it’s used as a way to start and continue discussions outside of the classroom. These teachers would get me and my classmates interacting online by asking for our thoughts on different links or encouraging us to share our own experiences. But, when it comes down to it, the reason I really like social media is because it’s a way to be social. Replying to students whenever they tweet is a great way to provide recognition for participating beyond class requirements.

Not being shy about life outside of school

I know that students can be pretty good at looking bored, but we really are interested in what you are like outside of school walls! My favorite teachers have always managed to share pieces of their lives outside of the classroom with me by talking about things like events they attended, favorite bands, or their hobbies. It’s made them more relatable to me—and made me feel that much more comfortable talking about my own interests. Some of my teachers have also used social media to share a bit of their personal lives with students. Of course, there’s a line between being a teacher and a friend that students don’t want to cross any more than teachers do, but we do love to get to know educators as real people.

Putting personality on full display

I loved when my teachers would be hilariously sarcastic about Shakespeare or struggle to be motivational while doing a workout alongside us in gym class. Those genuine moments in class always put me at ease and made the classroom feel like a place we could all be ourselves. When my teachers have been unafraid to look silly, express disappointment, or share a poignant experience it has promoted acceptance and openness among the whole class.

Showing true investment in student success

If other students are anything like me, they will be more motivated if they know that educators are really tuned in to them. My favorite teachers went above and beyond to spend one-on-one time in the classroom with me and all of their students, whether that meant breaking down a lesson further or asking how my game went last night. I always knew that they knew me and were rooting for me to succeed.

After 15 years as a student in the classroom, I know that my teachers have had a huge impact on me and my education. My experience interning with Edmentum has given me a new respect for teachers now that I’ve gotten a glimpse at everything educators must do to make classrooms run smoothly. Trust me—even when students don’t show it, teachers make a huge difference.

Want to learn more about how Edmentum’s commitment to help teachers personalize learning and inspire students? Watch this video to find out why we believe Anywhere, Anytime, We Can Learn!