Friday Focus!

September 4, 2015

What makes a good school has very little to do with how rich or poor the students are or the type of curriculum that’s taught. It has very little to do with special programs, expansive playing fields, huge endowments, snappy uniforms, celebrity alumni, or whether the school is wired to the Internet. What makes a good school, whether it’s public or private, religious or nonreligious, charter or non-charter, is a feeling. A feeling shared by the entire staff that their particular school is special. The feeling that their school really belongs to them. (Manna, 1999)

While cleaning out some files that were in my office, I came across an article titled “What Makes a Good Teacher?” (Traina, 1999)

The above quote may not directly tie in to the subject matter of today’s Friday Focus, the characteristics of effective teachers. However, I thought of Almadina teachers when I came across it. The feeling here is nearly clear. It truly is special, and it fosters a feeling of ownership among staff and students. Thanks to our teachers, we have created and maintained such a feeling.

Please accept my apologies if this is something that has been shared previously, but I found that it rang true—at least in my experience. The author sought to identify characteristics that are consistently cited by students and parents as those exhibited by their very best teachers. They are as follows:

 Command of subject matter: Effective teachers know their subject matter inside and out. In addition, they convey a love of, and passion for, their subject matter.

Caring deeply about each student, and about that student’s accomplishment and growth. Effective teachers take time to consider each student as an individual and a unique learner. They take the time and make the effort to get to know about each student, inquiring of their interests, family, and so forth.

Distinctive character: Effective teachers add a special flavor and zeal to their instruction that creates a memorable impression on their students. Whether it is an eccentric sense of humor or a tragedy overcome, such teachers stand out in the minds of their students.

At Almadina, we are obviously staffed by teachers with distinctive character who care deeply about each and every one of their students. It is equally apparent that ALCA teachers possess a superior command of their respective subject areas. As a result, your students will remember you long after they leave us.

Have a great long weekend.

Jamal