What are the characteristics of a teacher at OLu?

A great teacher is a valuable asset in any school. Teachers play a pivotal role in your children's education, and a good teacher can have an almost immeasurable influence on a student's achievement.

Teaching students and engaging them to learn and participate in class is no easy feat. A good teacher understands their responsibility to ensure students have a good learning experience and are prepared for their future pathways.

“A great teacher is someone who is innovative, is constantly working to grow and evolve in their craft, someone who is unsatisfied with the status quo,” says Rachel Abijay, English department chair at OLu.

At OLu, our teachers play a vital role in maintaining the quality of education that we promise. But what are the qualities we seek in a teacher? What qualities do we seek to nurture in our faculty? 

Let’s look at the qualities of a great teacher at OLu and how your child can benefit from having a teacher with these skills.

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Collaborative

In the world of education, no one is an island unto themselves. Being a teacher means working collaboratively with other school community members such as other faculty members, parents, and students.

“I love a collaborator, someone who's interested and seeks out the input of those around them, who actively attempts to improve in their craft in a multitude of ways,” says Abijay. “That doesn't have to be reading a book, it doesn't have to be attending a conference, it can just be having an idea and pursuing it, finding people to line up with a dream or goal or vision.”

By being collaborative, teachers can expand their knowledge, learn from students and faculty around them, and establish trust among members resulting in an effective and safe learning environment.

 

Innovative

The nature of education has and continues to transform before our eyes. To keep up with the changing environments and the evolving needs of our students, teachers should aspire to seek out innovation in their teaching methods to keep students engaged in their learning.

At OLu, we believe that innovative teachers not only discover opportunities for change but are also enthusiastic about adopting new methods to improve the way they deliver learning experiences. These teachers recognize the creativity in their students and know how to encourage them to use it to enhance their learning experiences.

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Flexible

The world of education is anything but stagnant. Working in a school means dealing with the unpredictable, be it as simple as an intriguing question during a discussion that sparks a sidebar conversation to something as impactful as a global pandemic.

By being flexible, OLu’s teachers can anticipate and adapt to any curveballs that come their way. They stand firm in their leadership and are there for their students both academically and spiritually.

“I also think a key component of an excellent teacher is someone who's able to read the room. What are the students understanding? What are they not understanding? And the ability to be flexible and adaptable, based on that often unspoken feedback they're getting from students,” says Abijay.

 

Mentoring

A teacher could be one of the most significant influences in a student's life, especially since students spend their most critical developmental years in school, interacting and building relationships with the different members of the school's community.

When we talk about mentoring at OLu, we refer to the qualities of OLu’s teachers that allow them to recognize the potential in their students, provide the necessary support, address and tackle frustrations and obstacles and guide them on their path to achieving their long term goals.

“I think a lot of our students seek out teachers, both while they are students and when they've graduated, for advice, for direction, and help in their own career paths, and that's really special as well. There's a lot of mentorship happening here at OLu”, says Abijay.

 

Willing to listen

While teachers need to be excellent communicators in teaching and maintaining relationships, an equally essential quality in OLu’s teachers is their willingness to listen with an open mind.

OLu’s teachers recognize that the key to being a good listener is observation. OLu’s teachers put their hearts into their work and take care of their students. They take the time to understand and become familiar with their students, allowing them to recognize when students may be struggling or need some guidance.

“An excellent teacher is someone who sees a child. You are so familiar with the student, that if they walk in and they have an unusual expression on your face, I think our teachers, more than most, are able to immediately recognize that and feel comfortable and confident speaking to said student. Our students feel safe expressing what's going on,” says Abijay.

OLu’s students feel safe in opening up to their teachers, and OLu’s teachers are willing to listen and reassure them through their faith in Christ by offering to pray with them or reminding them of the available support.

“When situations arise, when we have kids struggling, our teachers take the opportunity to say, ‘Do you want to pray about it? Can I pray for you?’ Or when they're struggling with their faith, issues of faith, issues of sexuality, issues of identity, be able to root them back to God's Word and to provide them comfort and hope in that. That's really where our teachers shine for me. I think the actual, the more potent and beautiful things that are happening are in the organic conversations and relationships with students.”

 

Experienced educators

Experience is another essential quality of OLu’s teachers. All of our faculty are experienced and qualified educators, many of whom have advanced degrees in their area of expertise. 

OLu’s teachers stay true to our mission to develop healthy, strong, caring students who understand that their identity is in Christ alone and who are strengthened and prepared for a Christian life of purpose, service through vocation, and leadership in a global society. But behind the scenes, our teachers express their joyful personalities and care for the school and its community members.

“There are a lot of passionate personalities at OLu,” shares Abijay. There's a lot of talking, and we don't always agree. It can be pretty dynamic and sometimes hot, but that's okay. That's how we grow, push each other.”

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Topics from this blog: Academics

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