Teaching, a crucial profession, entrusts educators with developing not only their students’ academic skills but their interpersonal competence as well. Few experiences rival a teacher’s excitement witnessing the expansion of minds eager to learn. It is a truism that individuals learn best from people they like. As Madeline Hunter stated: “Teaching is not telling and learning is not having been told. Thus, engaging young minds in meaningful activities provides them with experiences that will endure far beyond their time in a classroom. I like ascribe to what I’ve coined as the “Old MacDonald’s” approach to the teaching profession. The chorus,”e-i-e-i-o” provides a framework to traits that can enhance both teaching and learning.
E- EMPATHIC Teaching is personal. Teachers who relate well to their students demonstrate that they value them as individuals. They take a special interest in each student. They engage in both contingent and non-contingent interactions with them. Contingent interactions are reactive. They provide valuable feedback to students. For instance, if a student performs well on an assignment or is is attentive in class, the teacher responds appropriately. Non-contingent interactions are pro-active: they promote personal relationships. Asking students about their interests outside of school shows them that the teacher cares. Teachers can show students that they are valued for who they are rather than how they behave.
I-INSPRIING Teachers who stimulate curiosity impart much more than content. They should be experts in their subject matter. They also realize that they provide a springboard for independent learning far beyond the classroom experience. Teachers who inspire students are role models.
E-ENTHUSIASTC Teachers who demonstrate that they enjoy their chosen profession and their interactions with their students energize a classroom and a school.
I-INTERACTIVE Involve students! Interactive teachers rely on the resources within their own classrooms: their students. They encourage diverse ideas and methods for problem solving, regardless of the grade level or subject. They produce a synergy that supports a positive learning environment.
O-ORGANIZED Organization is key for successful teaching as well as learning. Organized teachers are always prepared with effective lessons and materials. Their rooms are welcoming and orderly. They return assignments promptly to provide timely feedback.