From the Atlantic Monthly: What Makes a Great Teacher?

teach for america classroom
Sat 30 2010

Tweets, blogs, and general referrals to What Makes a Great Teacher online at The Atlantic Monthly are zapping around cyberspace. Using information from Teach for America's decade-long look at why some teachers move their students ahead, even dramatically, and why others don't, What Makes a Great Teacher highlights the process of teaching, governmental and administrative support for teachers, and teachers themselves. (Four two-minute videos show examples of teachers in the classroom.)

Teach for America tracked its own teachers and their students—most of whom are poor and most of whom are African American and Latino. Answers they've quantified to the question about great teachers are perhaps surprising. "Things that you might think would help a new teacher achieve success in a poor school—like prior experience working in a low-income neighborhood—don’t seem to matter. ...What did predict success, interestingly, was a history of perseverance—not just an attitude, but a track record."

It's an informative and thought-provoking read.

About the Author

Lee Ann Ghajar is a digital history associate in Public Projects at CHNM and a PhD candidate in American history at George Mason University.