The Art of Teaching

Patience? Empathy? Passion? Purpose? Subject knowledge? What are the real skills that teachers need to be successful in the classroom? Research, observe, instruct, and ultimately determine your own key qualities for what makes a good teacher.


  • Essential Question:  Can anyone be a teacher – what are the real skills teachers need to have to be successful in the classroom?
  • Areas of study: Vocational early childhood education and/or recovery credit
  • Type and amount of credit earned:  ½ credit
  • Community partner: A teacher; the role of the teacher is to meet with the student twice and allow the student to observe his/her classroom three times.


  • Self-Management – coordination of  interviews with teachers, observation and reflection of self-management skills of a teacher
  • Critical thinking/problem solving – research and create a rubric to evaluate the traits/skills of a good teacher
  • Public speaking – presentation of the evaluation process and results
  • Active reading – engagement with and analysis of research text

See the detailed ELO description for the full text of these competencies.

Student activities

  • Determine observation schedule with teacher (community partner). Plan at least three observations.
  • Research what skills good teachers should have, citing at least six sources.
  • While watching or reading each TedTalk, fill out an active reading worksheet.
  • Create  your own rubric of criteria to look for during observations. (See Danielson Framework as sample.) This rubric should be based on research you did.
  • Observe teacher. Take photos of the teacher in action/interacting with students.
  • Take notes during observation, using the rubric and criteria you created.
  • Write a reflection merging research with observation.
  • Present reflection paper and observations using Powerpoint, Prezi, or Google Slides.


Students will be assessed during a final presentation. They will hand in all artifacts they have collected – visuals, research, and reflection paper. Then using a  Powerpoint, Prezi, or Google Slide presentation they will share publicly what they have learned. The presentation should be given to the teacher they observed, the ELO supervisor and any other available teachers or administrators. Students will need to discuss/show the research they conducted, what the experience of observing a teacher in action was like from their notes, what they learned about teaching from the completing the ELO, how the skills they observed can translate into the job market and their own personal answer to the essential question.

More information

This ELO was created for a ConVal Regional High School student who was at risk for not graduating. He needed a creative way to earn English credit.

This ELO requires a committed ELO coordinator who can touch base periodically with the teacher the student has chosen to observe. It can be modified for IEPs or simplified at any point. Students will probably need the most assistance creating the rubric of assessment. They should be encouraged to take notes during observation times to make the final portion of the project easier. Additionally, I would recommend highly that students take photographs of the classrooms they are observing for use in their final presentations.

This ELO was submitted by Amanda Bastoni, CTE Photo/Video teacher at ConVal Regional High School. Email teacher for more information