What makes a great teacher? Professional dispositions are the defining characteristics of a teacher’s heart, as it shows one’s values and integrity. There is a Model Code of Ethics for Educators, that guides teachers on how they are expected to conduct themselves in the profession; however, the heart of a teacher is one that is illuminated only through action and interactions with classroom students and school personnel. We all have seen this transpire at some point in school experiences. Now, let us look specifically at what we can each do to be effective teachers. Being an effective teacher encompasses much more than just teaching.
Professional Dispositions of Learners
According to the Dispositions of Learners, all children can learn and teachers should do everything they can to support their journey to success.1 Learning to be a teacher includes methods to teach classroom students how to read, write, do math, etc. However, that is not all that is required for teachers to be successful. We also need to learn the dispositions that are going to help us succeed, such as: honesty, curiosity, passion, compassion and respect for others. Students learn all these skills and attributes through their interaction with others and their teachers; therefore, it is paramount that we as teachers need to set an example and lead by it.
As a teacher, we can make students comfortable by creating a welcoming classroom environment. This includes first introducing the students to one another and asking questions about the students, such as where they are from. We can show by our demeanor that we look forward to interacting with the students every day and showing patience in the learning process. For instance, we can encourage students to put in their best efforts for learning, and adjust lesson plans to meet unique learning styles. Our fairness, passion for teaching, curiosity and respect for others make a class fun to attend and help us improve our teaching practice.
Application of Model Code of Ethics for Educators
The code of ethics for teachers is a set of guidelines to help us conduct ourselves in the profession with honesty and integrity. According to the Model Code of Ethics for Educators of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, teachers are prohibited from accepting or giving gifts to their students.2 While most teachers adhere to these guidelines, there are a few exceptions. For example, in some other countries the educational system may be inadequate or corrupt. Teachers may accept gifts from their students to get a better grade or just to pass an exam. When we as teachers maintain our integrity and follow expectations such as those in the Model Code of Ethics for Educators, students are treated consistently with the respect, fairness and dignity they deserve as an individual.
Skills, Traits and Attributes of Effective Teachers
As teachers we show our passion for teaching that encourages students to learn and have fun learning. We display our creativity in such a way that we share humor, love, compassion and understanding for our students using methods that mimic the care of community members, promote equality for the students, and build strong meaningful relationships based on trust and mutual respect.
Being effective teachers is our goal; however, we must also realize it is going to take time, commitment and plenty of effort along the way. We will need patience for handling a variety of situations working with students, fellow teachers and community members. Effective communication and good listening skills are needed to genuinely understand the students' problems and help them overcome their fears and doubts to resolve those problems on their own. This builds trust and strong relationships between the student and teacher.
According to GCU's Professional Dispositions of Learners, we should keep on learning even beyond college, as there is so much to learn.1 We live in an ever-changing world and education is certainly not exempt, so we need to be adaptive and keep an eye on the latest trends, methods and research to continually improve. Never stop learning and sharing with others. It's what keeps our teacher heart alive while advocating for the best outcomes for our students. Let us vow to not put limits on students on how much they can learn and always raise the bar by challenging them to do better.
The Professional Dispositions of Learners and the Model Code of Ethics for Educators are essential to the continuation of education both for teachers and students. These are the qualities, skills and attributes that will be embedded into everyone’s lives and have a long-lasting impact on their professional careers. Without them, teaching would lack spirit, heart and passion.
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1Retrieved from Grand Canyon University. (n.d), Professional Dispositions of Learners, in September 2021.
2Retrieved from National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (2015), Model Code of Ethics for Educators, in September 2021.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.