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Thursday 23-Apr-2015
The qualities of a top teacher

Over the years, I’ve seen a great deal in the classroom, both as a student in Hong Kong and in the UK, as well as a teacher in mainland China. There may be a perception here in Asia that the greatest teachers are masters of their subjects and possessors of a seemingly infinite amount of knowledge. However, the most inspiring educators offer more than their expertise and know-how.

The top teachers always go the extra mile for their students. Knowledge, certainly, is not the be all and end all for teachers who wish to inspire, nurture and be role models in their students’ eyes

In my view, the best educators are able to easily adapt to their surroundings and to the varying needs of their students. I remember very well my teacher of English when I was in the UK. It is very common for teachers to remain in their comfort zones and stick to the same tried and trusted methods. However, he fully appreciated that each student had different learning preferences - be it visual, kinaesthetic or auditory. He would purposely plan lessons in order to respect our needs. For instance, we would not just read a text in the coursebook in silence and answer comprehension questions in pairs. He would sometimes read sections to us to enhance our listening skills. He would stop after some sentences in order to write down key collocations on the board, which he would record after each lesson for us to listen to in future lessons. He would also encourage us to do high-energy roleplays which would incorporate new language. The variation was engaging, unforgettable and a sign of creative excellence.
 

There have been other teachers who had compassion and caring traits which put other students’ minds at ease. I recall a few peers from Hong Kong at Secondary School who struggled, initially, to come to terms with life in the UK. Two or three teachers went the extra mile to put themselves in these children’s shoes and empathise with them. There is a big difference between compassion coming from a councillor or house parent, than from a teacher. Their words really did help my peers come through a testing time. Too often, we do not notice that teachers have a caring and perhaps human side to their character. They are not always the machines we stereotype them as.

In addition to being compassionate and empathetic, a teacher must be patient. The patience of some teachers which I so admired has had a profound impact on the way I taught and the way I go about my work duties. I shall return to my English teacher who tackled the Curriculum in a very methodical and unhurried manner, and this ultimately benefited our language skills. He also continuously tried out fresh strategies to get the shyest students to open up and communicate. His patience and ability to avoid getting flustered are unforgettable.

All in all, look out for what your teachers have done for you and others. They are more than transmitters of knowledge.

 

Samuel Chan 

The Student Standard 
Tuesday, April 23, 2015

Samuel is the founder of Britannia StudyLink.

For more informational about British Boarding School. Email Samuel@britannia-study.com or call 3184 0152.

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#Hot Topic
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Education Experts

Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.

...

Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.

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MB Cheung, our senior consultant, has been writing education columns for major local newspapers for more than 25 years. With his experience and unique insights, he shares a variety of tips and advice on overseas education for the readers (and DSE students)

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