The best teachers believe no student is unteachable, however dismal their family circumstances, writes Maureen Downey in the Atlanta Star-Constitution. She cites Martin Haberman, developer of the National Teacher Corps, who’s developed an interview process to identify which teacher candidates are likely to succeed. He doesn’t look for an elite diploma or graduate education work. Loving kids isn’t enough either.
As any veteran teacher will agree, students aren’t always lovable. That’s why it’s more important to hire teachers who believe that kids are still teachable even when they aren’t lovable, he said.
In Haberman’s research, the most effective teachers tend to be mature adults who come to the classroom later in life and who live or grew up in the local community. They are not shocked by the conditions of the school or the chaos of their students’ homes, so they carry neither pity nor fear with them into the classroom.
What they do bring is a steely determination to reach their students and a refusal to blame their own lack of success on the kids, the parents or the neighborhoods.
Star teachers take responsibility for doing whatever it takes to motivate students. “They believe that success is a result of persistence and effort and that students have great potential if given ample motivation and opportunity,” Haberman says.