Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are Teachers Born or Made?

One of the many questions that I have been faced with while attending SUNY Cortland was whether I believe a teacher was born or made. In my second teaching block class, this was a question that our class worked together to try to answer. We first started by thinking of all of the qualities that make up a good teacher and then we decided on whether these qualities were born or made. We came to the conclusion that it is some of both. Teachers are born and made. The qualities that a teacher possesses are affective qualities that many people have, only to a varying degree though. Some people may naturally be more outgoing than others while some may be better at people skills. These skills to whatever degree are prerequisites to becoming a good teacher. Becoming a great teacher means taking these skills and improving and refining them so that you can make the learning environment a place that maximizes learning for your students while keeping it enjoyable.

If you think of all of the teachers that you have ever had, you most likely have had good teachers and bad teachers. When you think of the qualities of the good teachers compared to the bad teachers, the good teachers probably had many positive affective characteristics that made going to their class enjoyable for everyone. Many of these teachers may naturally have a knack for teaching while others may have previously had these skills to a small extent and then worked on them over and over again in order to become the good teachers that they are today. This strive to become a good teacher and be very motivated to be a great teacher, I believe, is a born quality.

When I look back to all of the teachers that I have had, I can easily tell the good teachers who have worked to make their teaching skills better. They make the class enjoyable and usually, when I went to their classes, I the class flew by and I never looked at the clock to see how much more time I had to sit through the class. I also remember the bad teachers that I have had. I remember sitting in a world history class and it was brutal. The teacher did not make learning fun so I made it interesting by counting how many times she said "uh" or "um". It was a 50 minute class and I only counted for the last 25 minutes and I counted an astonishing 56 times that she said either of those words. This was only half of the class period mind you. Because the teacher did not have the best teaching qualities, the learning environment was not fun and interesting which made me lose focus on whatever she was teaching.

All of the best teachers in the world have practiced and refined their skills to become better teachers than what they were in the past. This shows how teachers are made. However, it is very difficult take someone who does not have the naturally born qualities and will to become a teacher and make them a teacher. This is why teachers need to be a combination of born and made. I believe that good teachers are born and made while the not so good teachers are just made.

What do you think? Are teachers born or made?

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