Just as I’m finally answering last week’s question comes a new one:
What makes a good science teacher?
Thoughts after the jump…
For me, I think it comes down to three E’s: Education, Explanation, and Enthusiasm.
I’ll start with education, since it’s the most obvious. Clearly, one should know their stuff when they’re teaching, whether it’s to first-graders or college students.
However, it’s often the case that with increasing education comes a decreased ability to explain basic concepts to a beginning audience. It can be tough to remember that not everyone understands all the underlying concepts that go into any scientific discussion, and the more immersed one becomes in the jargon and high-level discussion, the more difficult it can be to present the science at a level that’s appropriate to the audience. This is something I know I struggle with, and certainly don’t always succeed.
Still, the knowledge–and the ability to present it clearly–may make for an adequate science teacher, but in my opinion, not a “good” one (though we could quibble about just what “good” means, I suppose). Hence, my inclusion of enthusiasm as a criterion. A love of the material can be infectious, and can make all the difference between having students just memorize the information, and really understand (and, hopefully, enjoy!) it.