What makes a great teacher?


Jawad Jamil

It’s not the qualifications, the degrees and the knowledge that makes a great Teacher. The thing that matters the most is his/her nature and the attitude towards the students. A teacher having all the qualifications and degrees won’t make up for the way he/she interacts with the students.

In all my education life, I can easily say my economics teacher in O levels was the best teacher hands down. The reason for that is he never went ahead with the syllabus even if just one student in the class didn’t understand the concept. He used to say, ‘You can ask me any questions as many times you want’. He never bothered about covering the syllabus in quick time unlike most teachers. For him it was about learning and understanding the concept because if the student won’t get the basics then most likely he will have problems going ahead.

Secondly, his teaching style was different than most teachers. The environment in which he taught was the most relaxed and friendly environment a teacher can teach his students and make them feel comfortable.

The most surprising thing was that the whole class waited for his period/lecture. For all other teachers we wished on their absence. So due to the brilliance of this ‘teacher’ I scored the highest marks in the class in the mid-terms examination.

As it was his teaching style and his friendly attitude towards the whole class that got me interested in the subject and hence wanted to score good in the exam.  But in my university life, I encountered the worst teacher ever. And he was the complete opposite of the economics teacher.

Firstly, he used to come late in the class usually and if a student did the same the rules were different and he would mark him/her absent. Secondly, he rarely used to teach his subject in the class. Most times he would just tell the class to ‘read this particular chapter and solve the exercise questions at home’, and the rest of time was spent on discussion of politics and religion.

Now as a student you’d expect a teacher to at least do his job for which he is being paid. Thirdly, he used to insult students by being personal. He was ill-mannered and the attitude towards the students was despicable.

Lastly, because of the above reasons, the environment in the class was uneasy and the students despised him. There was no fault of the students as they felt disrespected and the hostile environment made them lose interest in the subject. And many of the students even dropped the course.

Now the question for you is whether the superior qualifications of an ill-mannered and rude teacher carry more weightage or whether the likeable nature of a lesser qualified teacher determine how good a teacher is?

Some may argue that a teacher’s qualifications matters a lot. Well, yes to an extent. But if the teacher has only qualifications and degrees to offer then I’m afraid it is of no use to the students. Students would rather have a teacher who respects them and treats them fairly and performs to the best of their ability to transfer their knowledge to them.

The first thing a teacher should do is to make the students feel comfortable and relaxed. Teachers should not misuse their authority to degrade students. Instead, they should try to make learning fun and interesting while keeping a friendly class environment.

A great teacher is one who connects with the students like he is one of them. Not someone who enters the classroom in order to assert his authority and vent his frustration and anger at his students.

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