Unfortunately, the walk from the hospital to the school was a short one. It left me little time to consider what I was going to say to my students. How was I going to tell them that the mother of one of their classmates had just passed away? These sixth graders had shared the pain of their close friend over the months of his mother’s debilitating illness and now were going to have to deal with the terrible and tragic loss.
Many have wondered if teaching is best described as a science or an art. As is almost always the case is such debates, both are rather accurate.
In some ways, teaching is most certainly a science. Specific methodologies can be employed which will result in reproducible outcomes. Such methodologies can even be tailored and modified to optimize success in distinct disciplines. We can clearly define learning goals and set testable standards for achievement.
And yet, teaching is also part art. We all know that great teachers are born, not made. While we can evaluate certain characteristics that will contribute to teacher success, the essence of what makes them great remains elusive.
So how can we predict whether or not a teacher will succeed?