I have always been the blessing and the curse as perceived by faculty. Though I was brought up as a product of teachers whose projections of how one is perceived in the school community factored into the rewards and punishments of my scholastic behavior, I tested my boundaries. Some teachers appreciated that my challenges made them work, and I feel that these are the students whose actions I will seek most for a source of vitality in my own teaching. Others were disturbed by the reality that they would have to stretch and be sharp.
As a female, I have always had a sensitivity to sexism even at a young age. So, I would be remiss if I didn't say that equity and even feminism in the young classroom marks good teaching. As empowerment is probably the most important message and gift, it should be delivered without distinction.
Good teaching requires a sharpness in the way of being concurrent with best practices as they reflect each new need. An invested interest in teaching as an art form rather than a paycheck is an antidote to teacher burnout and student struggles. Poor teaching is that which invites homegrown negativity, good teaching brings elements of the humanity/the reality of the teacher as a fallible person. I am a big fan of metacognitive teaching. I believe that a classroom in which the perspectives of the student are valued and invited into the rule-making and curricular building of the classroom. I believe in a mutual voice; one in which safe risk-taking is invited into conversation. I want students to understand boundaries that exist without feeling oppressed by authoritarian patterns they have learned to know in the American public school system so often.