What makes a good literature teacher?

About the luck of having a good teacher

A good educator takes away the fear of school from students

Such a teacher is a companion for life even if you only have him for a year or two at school. It's lucky to have a teacher like that. And there is this natural happiness in almost every school: there is too much talk about bad teachers and too little about good teachers.

Much is written about bad teachers. The literature of the past hundred years is school horror literature; the classrooms there are cabinets of horror, the school a place of malice, a system of humiliation. So it is with Heinrich and Thomas Mann, with Torberg and Ebner-Eschenbach, with Rilke and Hesse. In the "Buddenbrooks" the teachers are cruel or ridiculous annihilators of childhood. The teachers in the novels are either deranged, fools, or sadists. In Wedekind's “Spring Awakening” they are called Sonnenstich, Affenschmalt, Knüppeldick, Broken Bones and Hunger Belt. And that's not necessarily meant to be funny. Even in Ludwig Thomas' rascal stories, the school pranks are often bitter. That was long before Pisa, so it was also the case in times that are considered to be the greatest and most German of the German educational system. Sometimes one can get the impression that reality is emulating literature.

There is too little talk about good teachers and far too little opportunity for teachers to be good

Teachers need a workplace that creates the conditions to be good. The financial and personal resources of the schools also determine how good the lessons can be. Despite all the passion and self-denial, a teacher cannot be good if he stands in front of 35 children for three quarters of an hour and can statistically “communicate with each one for a minute.

Teachers don't need new tasks all the time, they need more freedom - for their own ideas and for good teaching. You need space and time for the individual pupil, for projects and cooperation with extracurricular institutions; they need fewer administrative tasks. A good teacher could be an even better teacher if he didn't have to ask every spontaneous initiative: “Is this legally protected?” As long as it stays that way, a teacher must first and foremost be robust: a good teacher is someone who knows can stay healthy in a pretty sick system. A good teacher is one who can see the plight of children and does not break because of the fact that he can often only endure this hardship, but hardly alleviate it. A good teacher leads his students on a long but tight leash: freedom yes, cheek no.

A good teacher learns with and from his students

He knows that upbringing is ten percent information and ninety percent past life. A good teacher is close to the children, but he does not abuse the closeness.

Learning needs trust. A pupil must be certain that he is dealing with his gaps and weaknesses, that he is allowed to show himself with his fears, with his curiosity and his questions, that they will not be thrown around his ears like a wet towel. This is difficult in his system, in which the teacher has to evaluate a lot, correct exams, assign grades - so the person being assessed has to present himself as well as possible. There is research that says that it is essential to separate the personnel: “learning coach” and “assessor”.

It is the art of opening a door to the world for young people, making them curious, it is the art of giving them self-confidence and orientation

And then the sentence that a seminar teacher said applies: “A bad teacher whose students cannot beat him.” Good teachers spark enthusiasm. The students of these teachers can be recognized by the fact that they want to know something, that they are able to judge, criticize, act independently.

All of this is only possible if the teacher likes and respects the students. That, in turn, requires society to show teachers that it likes them too. When a society treats its teachers badly, it has undeserved happiness when the teachers treat its students well.