What Makes a Good Student? What Makes a Good Teacher?
By Faith Bolqués
Most teachers, regardless of what or who they teach, tend to have a set idea of what exactly they should do to make the best of their teaching. Whether that is creating relationships with their students, creating a welcoming learning environment, or making their teaching engaging, they try their best to do their job to the best of their abilities. Students hold (and are held to) these expectations as well. I asked a group of students and teachers what they think can help a student or teacher’s school experience.
The most prominent thing that was said to make a student ‘better’ was curiosity. If students want to learn something, that ambition will help push them to work harder in that subject. Being excited to learn, no matter what you're learning about, is always a plus in life. Another often-mentioned thing was being prepared to learn in class. Whether that meant coming into class with the required books/assignments or being mentally ready to learn and do whatever is happening in class that day, being prepared is a must. The last thing that helps to make a successful student is the amount of effort put into school. From learning to classwork to homework, if you don't put effort into the things you do, you won't be able to do the best you can do. Everything school-related relies on that one thing.
When it comes to teaching, the standards are different. A teacher should already know about the subject they’re teaching, of course, so the need to put effort into learning their subject is partially null. They should always try to be updated on their subject (especially if they’re teaching an ever-updating subject, like history/science classes), but there usually isn’t a lot that a teacher needs to continuously learn about. What a teacher does need to know is how to make learning interesting. One of the most common ‘bad’ teaching styles is lecturing to students day in and day out, for every class. A better way to teach is to make learning engaging, with activities that help push learning instead of just listening to the teachers talk. Creating positive relationships with students and listening to their requests/complaints and actually accepting their mistakes will always help a teacher to do the very best that they can do.
The consensus, from what I found, seems to be consistent: engagement is essential. Without an interest in learning and being engaged in doing so, one will have a harder time in school in general (whether they are a student or teacher). Being engaged in a class is what can make or break a student's grades, and making a class engaging can help a teacher to help their students in doing so. Engagement is key, no matter what the situation calling for it is.