Spotting Great Teachers

This recent article from The Wall Street Journal, “Four Ways to Spot a Great Teacher,” underwhelms. The author cites the following elements of “superb teaching” among K-12 teachers:

  • Have active intellectual lives outside their classrooms
  • Believe intelligence is achievable, not inborn
  • Are data-driven
  • Ask great questions

In my view, superb teaching (K-12 and beyond) is more broadly defined and includes (not in order of importance):

  • Subject matter knowledge
  • Knowledge that surrounds the subject matter (to make connections)
  • Ability to explain relevance in different contexts
  • Continuous improvement of course content and delivery
  • Respects students
  • Enthusiasm for subject and for teaching
  • Guides conversations to interesting places (by asking questions)
  • Fair but rigorous evaluations
  • Adjusts to changing times (short-term and long-term)
  • Makes few teaching errors

This describes the best K-12 teachers that I had.


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