Do You Have the Heart of a Teacher?

Elisabeth Henderson

Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

What makes a teacher a teacher? Is it the ability to bring order out of a classroom of unruly children? Is it their unfailing devotion to knowledge and expertise of their subject matter? Is it a love for young people that enables them to befriend students of all kinds? Is it a mastery of the art of teaching? 

People have long debated what makes the most effective form of teaching. The Socratic Method of asking questions to reveal underlying assumptions has been used since Ancient Greece to teach students by helping them to come to conclusions on their own. Discussions today focus on how to best tap into students’ learning styles and what role technology should play in the classroom. While these questions of strategy are essential for effective teaching, they don’t get at what may be an even more crucial question — how do you develop the heart of a teacher? 

Parker Palmer points to this central issue in his "The Courage to Teach" book: "Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher." In other words, it comes from the heart. No matter what training a person has in their subject matter or teaching strategies, real-life encounters with students will reveal a teacher’s heart. Only a teacher’s heart will know how to respond to difficult situations in ways that will open to learning. Take this quiz to find out if you’re a teacher at heart! 

If you were giving a lecture and a student interrupted you with an off-topic question, what would your response be?

If a student were to approach you just as you were leaving for the day, what would you say?

If a student asked to use the restroom during class, what would you do?

What kind of project would you assign?

After class is over, what is your routine?

What kind of test would you give?

If a student were to challenge something you said in class, how would you respond?

If your students were to ask you if the class could study something that wasn’t on the syllabus, what would you do?

Who holds the power in your classroom?

What is the benefit of class discussion?

How would your ideal classroom look?

What do you bring home from work as a teacher?

What is your policy about food in the classroom?

If you found out that a student was having trouble at home, what would you do?

Another course is studying material that closely connects to your course’s subject matter. What will you do?

When you find out you have a student in class who has been a problem for you in the past, what is your reaction?

You have been invited to chaperone a student trip to Europe. What is your response?

What is your policy about responding to email?

How do you handle that student who always raises their hand?

If a student constantly disrupts class, what does that indicate to you?

How do you feel about opportunities to talk with other teachers about teaching?

Why would you pursue a career in teaching?

What the most important quality in a teacher?

What makes a good essay?

What was your favorite teacher like?

For what reason would you get a student in trouble with school authorities?

What really gets under your skin when you’re teaching?

What do you enjoy the most about teaching?

What is the purpose of teaching?

How do you work to improve your teaching?

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