The term, master teacher, may be one of the most inconsistently-used designations in academia. If you’re looking for a master teacher definition, you’re likely to find that the meaning varies from state to state, as well as among individual school districts.
While some believe that master teacher awards and years of service make an educator a master teacher, we prefer a definition based on more intangible qualities.
Qualities of a Master Teacher
We believe that master teachers are leaders who have mastered the management of their classrooms and found a way to accelerate learning for all their students. These educators are exceptional communicators who have a strong connection with their students.
A master teacher recognizes that the education process is about much more than sharing content. It’s about creating independent learners who have the critical thinking skills to grow and thrive. These educators put their students first and adapt the curriculum to their learners’ needs.
Master teachers hold their students to the highest expectations. They conduct regular progress monitoring, adjust their teaching approach as needed, and empower their students to take ownership of their education.
The master teacher mindset is one of systematic problem solving and personal accountability. These teachers are continually seeking out opportunities to better themselves as professional educators. They have the ability to look through a broad lens and communicate honestly about issues in their classroom, as well as with parents and administrators.
Becoming a Master Teacher
Colorado Christian University offers a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction (MACI) program for educators who wish to build the qualities of a master teacher.
Through cognitive coaching and reflective writing, CCU’s students develop critical thinking skills that can be applied to virtually any situation. CCU’s students learn to look intellectually, emotionally and spiritually at their actions as teachers and leaders. They learn how to accept responsibility and think systematically about the issues they face.
“The MACI program helped me get rid of my need to control everything,” a recent graduate shared. “I realize that I’m never, ever going to have a formula to reach every kid.”
“Instead, I’ve learned how to think critically and holistically about what I’m seeing in the classroom, diagnose what’s going on in the student’s learning and life, and take responsibility and own the issue. I can look at myself and make adjustments so I’m giving my students what they need.”
If you’re interested in becoming a master teacher, learn more about CCU’s master’s degree in teaching.
Author: Ann Lillie