The Quality School Teachers

Researchers have shown that all human beings have five basic needs: love, power, freedom, fun and survival. These basic needs are built into our genetic structure and from birth we must dedicate all our behaviour to attempt to satisfy them. Quality, therefore, is anything we experience that is consistently satisfying to one or more of these basic needs. Most of us are aware that a quality life is desirable even if we know nothing about the basic needs. But if you are a teacher and you seek to give your students a quality learning experience, this will help both you and your students to do what needs to be done to increase the quality of your lives.

William Glasser in his book The Quality school teacher¹ discovered 6 conditions to be posted on the school walls, written in simple language. The teacher needs to explain the conditions to students even though they might not understand much in the beginning. The teacher should encourage the students not to worry about them and to explain that these conditions are an important part of what makes this a new kind of school.

The first condition is to have a warm, supportive classroom environment. Quality schoolwork cannot exist if there is an antagonistic relationship between those who teach and those who are taught. They must trust each other that the welfare of the all the actors involved in teaching is their desire. Without this trust nobody will do a quality schoolwork, neither students nor teachers. Students need to know who teachers are, what they stand for, what teachers will ask them to do, what teachers will not ask them to do, what teachers will do for them and what teachers will not do for them.

A major flaw in the traditional educational system is that teachers try but fail to motivate students to do useless work (

So, the second condition is that students should be asked to do only quality work. No student should be asked to memorize material that will soon be forgotten because there is no use for it except in school. It is thus the teacher’s job to explain to students what is useful about everything that students are asked to learn. Teachers should make the distinction between teaching life skills, which are almost always useful, and teaching information, which is only useful is the students see the value. There will be no requirement to memorize anything. There will be total emphasise on teaching students how they can use information, like the parts of cells, in their lives now or later.

The third condition is that students are always asked to do the best they can do at that time. Quality school work takes time and effort and for this reason students must be allowed the time to make the necessary effort.

The fourth condition for a quality schoolwork is that students are asked to evaluate their own work and improve it. Teacher should take the time to and effort to teach students how to evaluate their own work and then ask to do this almost all the time. Even if the initial work was judged as quality, students should be encouraged to see if a little additional effort would result in improvement. There are a few steps to take in creating a secure and self-improved self-evaluation:

  • Teachers should discuss what quality means so that students have a good understanding of what it is;
  • Teachers should suggest an assignment that is useful;
  • Teachers asks students to work on the assignment by themselves;
  • Teachers should not grade the assignment because a good grade stops the process of improvement and a poor grade stops the process by discouraging the student;
  • Teachers should ask students to improve the assignment by asking the help of another student.

The fifth condition would be that quality work always feels good meaning that there is no greater satisfaction than that of doing something useful that you believed is the very best you can do and finding that others agree.

The last condition of achieving quality schoolwork is the belief that quality schoolwork is never destructive. Therefore, it is not quality to achieve good feeling through bullying and harming other people, the property and the environment.

By the time they get past the first few years in school, students are already sceptical about the value of school and there is less and less good feeling about learning. As this happens, students no longer feel teachers as being on their side. They sense teachers as their adversaries and they no longer believe that teachers have their welfare in mind. Therefore, it is the teacher’s task to persuade all the students to trust him/her. The students must believe that in all the teacher asks them to do, the teacher is on their side. Students should trust the teachers to figure out their own curriculum, to use the materials they think are best in the way they think are most effective, to use any method of teaching that they think will work, to discover how to evaluate the students in such a way as students themselves that they have learned what they are supposed to learn.

To conclude with, the only way education is going to change is if the classroom teacher makes it happen.


¹ William Glasser, The Quality school teacher, Harper Perennial, 1993


1. William Glasser, The Quality school teacher, Harper Perennial, 1993


prof. Iuliana Camelia Ivan

Școala Gimnazială Nr. 7, Buzău (Buzău) , România
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