Terrific teachers 

—Makes
students his or her top priority;
—Has the ability to stimulate
students;
—Consistently looks for and brings to the classroom current
and stimulating material;
—Works with students outside the classroom on
projects that give students a practical application for the subject;

—Keeps up with his or her field of expertise;
—Has the ability to see
individual differences in students;
—Has the ability to get students to
ask challenging questions;
—Has enthusiasm for what he or she is
teaching;
—Really does care about his or her students, and
—Has the
ability to teach students how to think and problem-solve.

The
problem(s) we face today is how we can find ways to make classroom
teaching important once again in society. Until we find a way to
recognize and reward great teachers and make it as vital in our society
as coaching a championship sports team, we’re never going to solve our
problems in education. We also have to do a better job of training our
future teachers. Until our universities make training teachers a top
priority, we’re never going to have enough master teachers.

Some
say there is no real way to evaluate how effective teachers are in a
classroom. I don’t agree. Having spent 35 years in the classroom at the
high school, junior college, college and university levels, I can walk
in a classroom and tell in a short period of time whether or not a
teacher is a master teacher.

It is not the building or
even the equipment — although both are important — that makes the
educational system work. It is the master teacher.

—Ivan Holmes, Oklahoma City


Holmes is a past regent and commissioner to the Education Commission of the States under former Gov. David Boren.

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