Kid Corner: What Makes a Good Teacher?

I’m sure you’ve thought about what makes a good teacher, but have you ever asked a child what he or she thinks makes a good teacher? I love it when my readers share questions with me, and this one came from Rachel Schuette, who was looking for input for a teaching course she’s taking: What do you think makes a good teacher?

What makes a good teacher? Ask a Kid!

I posted the question to the TinkerLab Facebook page, and the responses that poured in were thoughtful, funny, and honest.

Here’s Rachel’s original question:

“I am looking for help…. Would any of you mind interviewing your school age child/neighbors child/ any student a question and reply with their response please?!
Ok, question is: “what do you think makes a good teacher?”( or give a prompt like”if I was a teacher I would…”)
Thank you so much for ANY input.”

As educators, parents, or, well, grown-ups, we have many theories about what a good teacher looks like. But how often do we think to ask the kids themselves? Sure, children may not have the long view on curriculum, but they do have strong opinions on what helps them enjoy learning.

One thread that was repeated throughout was that of being nice, kind, and caring, and not shouting or yelling. While you may be surprised to see so many children desire a strict teacher, keep in mind that strict teachers often build safe and equitable learning environments.

I went through the comments (at the time of posting there were 66 in all), and organized them by age to help you pour over them. If you’re a teacher, I imagine that you will see yourself in many of these thoughts. And if you’re a parent, you might just want to forward this to your favorite teacher!

And finally, if you are a parent, teacher, grandparent, or someone who hangs out with kids, go ahead and ask them Rachel’s question and share the response/s in a comment. We love comments and I love the idea of this resource building over time.

What makes a good teacher?

What Makes a Good Teacher?


All good teachers feed us!

She has to be really nice.

Like one that doesn’t make you sleep. You can just stay awake and watch a movie.

Cook. And give snacks after nap.

Be nice. Say good job and I love you. You know, do what you do, Mommy. (mommy is a teacher)

Age 5

Be kind and make sure everyone has a friend to play with.

A good teacher is very smart and nice to kids.

Doing bible studies.

Being helpful, and being nice by giving everyone a chance to try things.

Teach school kids.

Uses the computer and the smart board.

Doesn’t shout, And helps me finish my work that I find hard.

Age 6

Someone that doesn’t say “you have to be a teenager or an adult to be an artist or a scientist”

A good teacher likes to learn new things so they can teach new things.

Take care of the kids.

They let you play and go outside and stuff. You know, the fun stuff.

I have no idea. Not being mean or hittin’ people.

Someone who teaches you a lot and let’s you learn the things you want to learn. (homeschooler)

She doesn’t yell.

She notices you. She sees if you’re upset or worried and helps. She’s really good at noticing people.

They don’t scream and they help you learn.

Being nice to us and letting us have extra recesses.

That she’s nice, polite and kind. She takes care of us.

Age 7

They ask for feedback after we do assignments, balance the assignment so we don’t do one subject all day long, are good listeners, are helpful when you’re frustrated.

They are good with kids and they’ve been a teacher lots of years.

They are so nice. They teach us good stuff. They don’t get us in trouble all the time, but they do get people in trouble for the right reasons. Not like those old-fashioned teachers with a blackboard and that stick thing!

They are nice. I like that they are smart. If I were a teacher I would teach everyone. I would tell everyone about myself myself on the first day of school. And, I would give them two math pages a day.

Really nice, and doesn’t yell.

Personality, funny, serious, thoughtful, nice

Not being strict but being nice.

A good teacher helps people.

If I was a teacher, I’d do show and tell every day.

Someone who is very smart, and explains things understandably.

A teacher who helps me and encourages me.

Age 8

If she doesn’t raise her voice.

They’re caring.

Being kind.

Learning and having fun. Helps you learn.

Age 9

A good teacher is always kind and nice to their students.

A good teacher is someone who makes learning fun.


If I was a teacher….I would have free time for the kids. If I was a teacher I would have kids work together on projects and be able to show their slides on the projector screen.

Nice, not too strict, homework only 3x/week, helps you if you don’t understand.

If I was a teacher I would explain everything clearly.

Age 10

They lead group and individual projects, make sure that everybody learns at their own pace, make sure that we understand the assignment, they are helpful, make learning fun, if we work hard we should be able to play hard, are trust-worthy, pay attention to who you are as an individual, are empathetic and reasonable.

Someone that’s strict but fair and doesn’t punish the whole class when it is only one or two who are misbehaving.

They never yell and help you when you ask .

A teacher that doesn’t specifically assign homework.


Free time.

Strict, funny, energetic, understanding, forgiving.

A good teacher is someone who enjoys talking to you and teaching you new things or helping you when you are stuck on a math problem.

If I was a teacher I’d never give homework.. My brain needs a break you know.

Age 11

Kind of strict and kind of nice so you still take them seriously.

Age 12

They have to be like super patient, because you know, kids. They should like kids and should be kind of strict.

One who knows what they are teaching and is teaching it in a fun way.

Creative. Hands on activities. Ask often if kids have questions. And devotion…don’t be lazy.

Age 13

Learn to change with the times and teach with the changes and be fresh.

I don’t know. Nice. Smart, I think.

Age 14

A good teacher teaches the lesson but also makes the lesson fun.

Club TinkerLab

Ask TinkerLab a Question

If you have a question that you’d like answered, join us in Club TinkerLab, a closed Facebook group for parents, teachers, makers, caregivers, grandparents who are interested in making, inventing, educating, and engineering intersect. If you’re looking for process-based art projects, STEAM inspiration, lesson plans, sketchbook ideas, or general creative inspiration, this group should feel like home.

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