What Makes A Great Teacher? – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This weekend, Education Minnesota will pick a new “Teacher of the Year.” It’s down to 11 finalists from across the state.

They teach everything from math, to literacy, to special education.

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So, what makes a great teacher? Good Question. WCCO’s Heather Brown talked with three finalists about what they’ve learned:

* Edward Barlow, music teacher at Anwatin Middle School in Minneapolis

* Kendall Gonzalez, kindergarten teacher at Matoska International IB World School in White Bear Lake

* Youmma Eiden-Giel, social studies teacher at Park High School in Cottage Grove.

Whether it be kindergarten, high school social studies, or middle school music, each of these teachers understands what it means to be a student.

“Do you still learn every year?” Brown said.

“Yes, all the time, every day,” Gonzalez said.

“Always, always,” Eiden-Giel said.

“All the time, 100%,” Barlow said.

“They can teach you?” Brown said.

“Absolutely. I mean, you know, they’re teaching me about technology, and they’re teaching me about, ‘Ms. Eiden, here’s that TikTok thing you should be able to do,’” Eiden-Giel said.

“What do you think makes a great teacher?” Brown said.

“OK, good question. A great teacher, number one, has the students’ best interests at heart, 100% of the time. And you do it by any means necessary [laughs], no matter what!” Barlow said.

Each finalists’ answer was slightly different.

“Somebody who’s really good listener,” Eiden-Giel said.

But very similar — a focus on the kids.

“I think that the biggest thing that makes a great teacher is somebody who makes their students and their families feel welcomed and safe and supported at school,” Gonzalez said.

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“Now more than ever, we have to listen to our kids. We have to understand their stories, we have to listen to where they’re coming from, where they’re at, their successes and their challenges,” Eiden-Giel said.

What Makes A Great Teacher? – WCCO

Edward Barlow (credit: CBS)

They’re constantly looking at curriculum.

“Especially look for narratives that might be missing,” Gonzalez said.

Revising lesson plans.

“I tell my students, ‘I plan for you all day,’” Barlow said.

Connecting with families.

“I like to start each year with a home visit to each family,” Gonzalez said.

Or creating space outside of class.

“Already in this interview we’ve had three or four just want to stop in and say hi [laughs]! Does that happen a lot?” Brown said.

“Yes it does [laughs]!” Barlow said.

And this year, especially, all of them are thinking about mental health.

“The teacher that walks around and says, ‘Hey, how did that softball game go yesterday?’ And just really showing kids you’re invested in them,” Eiden-Giel said.

“This is a lot of work, it’s a tough job. What keeps you coming back every day?” Brown said.

“It’s really, truly the kids,” Gonzalez said.

“To keep going for the little moments,” Eiden-Giel said.

“The students. They need us,” Barlow said.

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All of the teachers Brown talked with credit their colleagues — other educators — with helping them succeed. They said many of the state’s more than 50,000 teachers could be “Teacher of the Year.”

Source : https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2022/04/28/what-makes-a-great-teacher/

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