Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Included in any discussion of quality education there has usually existed a universal agreement as to the importance of good teaching. It has been impossible to ignore the teacher's powerful ability to create achievers or failures out of his/her students. However, as adults attempted to define the characteristics of the "good teacher'', they rarely invited students to offer their input, even though those students possessed first-hand knowledge of intimate classroom dynamics.

This study, therefore, was an effort to tap this valuable resource by interviewing 117 third, fifth, and seventh graders and asking them the following quest ions: “Think of the best teacher(s) you ever had. What made him (her) special?" "Think of the worst teacher(s) you ever had. “What made him (her) so bad? “Students responded in classroom discussions, in written form, and in drawings.

Two characteristics of the "good teacher" were emphasized repeatedly in the comments of students. They were "caring and/or loving" and "providing students with academic success". Students wanted a teacher who was compassionate, helpful, supportive, and encouraging. Personal characteristics of the teacher, such as patience, sensitivity, and sense of humor, were far more important to students than the professional skills the teacher possessed.

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