What makes a great teacher?

I just stumbled across this blog post about the visual anatomy of a great teacher and it got me thinking back to the first day of my teaching practicum, where my supervisor handed me a list of 10 things about being a great teacher. I no longer have the list but I remember of of the items on it, which was “Do not be a friend”. We keenly discussed this at length with the other student-teachers as what it implied. To this day, I have always held not being a friend to students as an important value of what constitutes a great teacher. I very much believe in ensuring that I provide a high degree of care for the students I am responsible for but a friend to them, I am not. It probably also explains why I do not have students as friends on Facebook. In fact, I dislike the term ‘friend’ on Facebook, but I digress.

Greatest teacher

So what makes a great teacher?

Here are a few links on the topic to get you thinking:

Colorado State University – Good Teaching: The top 10 requirements

The new teachers section of the Times Education Supplement – What makes a great teacher?

Huffington Post – What makes a great teacher?

Giving this topic further thought. As a teacher in an IB Word School, we strive to develop in students the attributes of the IB Learner Profile. Subsequently, I firmly believe that the great teachers in these schools would model these values and we would expect to see them on display because no matter how we wish to unpack the question of what makes a great teacher, it is the teacher being a role model in what we aspire for our students that is important first and foremost.




Published by Richard Bruford

Richard is currently Secondary School Principal of Suzhou Singapore International School, one of China's leading international schools. He leads workshops across the Asia-Pacific region for the International Baccalaureate in the areas of pedagogical leadership and approaches to teaching and learning. Richard consults with schools on the topics of school improvement and effective implementation and use of technology. With a background in public and independent school education in the UK and Australia, Richard is enjoying his international school adventure in China. He is passionate about developing and supporting educational leaders, as it is essential to improving all schools. Richard is a proud family man and feels lucky to be married to Kim and father of their son Austin. In his spare time Richard enjoys to swim, bike and run and is a now retired football player and coach (with occasional guest appearances)

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