Dr. Freda Deskin
ASTEC Charter Schools

Freda Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools Discusses Characteristics of Teachers that Make a Difference

Every once in a while, we’ll hear how one teacher has made a life-changing difference in a child’s life, explains Dr. Freda Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools.

Usually the child grows up with confidence restored and goes on to make substantial contributions to the world around him. When we think about it, most of us can remember at least one of our teachers that stood out in our own lifetime. Here, Freda Deskin, Ph.D., talks about some characteristics that these teachers have and how they have the ability to make such a difference in a child’s life.

Dr. Freda DeskinAll parents want teachers for their children that inspire hope and open their eyes to something new and exciting. Dr. Freda Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools says these are the teachers that make a difference in the lives of the children they teach. This difference rolls forward to the adult years and has outreaching effects far past the school years. It’s not the classroom nor the school system that does it, Dr. Freda Deskin says. These things can help, she adds, but studies have repeatedly shown it’s the teacher that makes the difference.

Teach for America | Dr. Freda Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools

Teach for America, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to confronting educational inequality through teaching, has been collecting statistics on teachers’ abilities for over 20 years now. Dr. Freda Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools says this group consists of educators, advocates, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community members dedicated to making a difference. They recruit top students from colleges all over the country to teach for a minimum of two years in one of 52 urban and rural designated regions in across America.

Over the past two decades, they have done an independent external survey called the biennial National Principal Survey of their partner principals to evaluate the performance of teachers in their schools. Over the years, their studies have come to some remarkable conclusions about the characteristics of teachers that make a difference.

Determination of a Teacher’s Success | Dr. Freda Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools

One of their determinations of a teacher’s success, according to Dr. Freda Deskin, was the ability to move their students 1-1/2 years or more ahead in one year. Over the years of watching teachers and analyzing the data, they determined it’s not the things you’d normally think are important that make a difference.

The “successful” teachers were the ones that set big goals for their students, says Dr. Freda Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools. They were the ones who constantly re-evaluated the way they taught, always seeking improvement. The study found the “superstar” teachers also had four other things in common: They involved the parents and the students in the learning process, they stayed consistently focused on their goals, they planned the outcome by reverse engineering their goals and working backwards creating the weekly plans to get there, and they worked relentlessly towards their goals.

Dr. Freda Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools says certain criteria, like a teacher’s extracurricular activities in college, were also found to help predict a teacher’s success. Another characteristic of successful teachers were the ones that frequently checked for understanding from their students, as opposed to merely asking if they had any questions.

“We’ve learned a lot from these studies, and we’re still learning,” Dr. Deskin of ASTEC Charter Schools adds. “Teach for America is there to ensure our children have the best education possible for years to come.”

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