Excellent Teachers

Excellent teachers embrace our mission of educating students from around the world by serving as positive role models, creating a sense of community, working to become experts and design their courses well, accommodating different ability levels and learning styles, and truly enjoying what they do.

Perkiomen School, like all excellent independent schools, asks many things of its teachers and staff. Although it is difficult to list all of them, we value certain practices and ideas as an extension of our mission and philosophy. These extend to classrooms, playing fields, residence halls, art programs, weekends, and all other settings where teachers work and interact with students each and every day.

  1. Excellent teachers embrace the mission of Perkiomen School as a residential academic community serving middle and upper school students from around the world.
    • Excellent teachers understand, embrace, and enjoy their time working with students after school, in the evenings, and on weekends.
    • Excellent teachers understand that study hall, meals in the dining hall, coaching, and weekend trips all provide teachable moments and are part of the fabric of the Perkiomen experience.
    • Excellent teachers develop healthy, long-term connections to students through advisory groups, invitations to their homes for study groups and social events, and in providing a positive adult presence in their student’s lives.
    • Excellent teachers take the initiative to know their students well – through advisory, classroom teaching, the dining hall table, coaching, clubs, residential duties, and interactions across campus and on weekends.
    • Excellent teachers value the importance of residential life and all of its components as much as they value their time in the classroom.
  2. Excellent teachers are positive role models.
    • They are fair and consistent with students, parents, and fellow professionals in the way they carry out their daily responsibilities as members of a residential community.
    • They are leaders by example through their conduct and demeanor during and after school.
    • They support their colleagues, the mission, and institutional priorities.
    • They maintain a clean, orderly, student-centered, and mission-focused classroom.
  3. Excellent teachers create a sense of community in their classrooms.
    • The classroom is a positive environment in which to learn. A sense of structure and support are both present.
    • Excellent teachers value each student and challenge each one to be his or her very best.
    • Excellent teachers engage students actively in the learning process with a focus on the student.
    • Excellent teachers communicate effectively with parents, students, and fellow professionals.
  4. Excellent teachers are proactive in their work.
    • They anticipate problems, and act to prevent them.
    • They learn from errors.
    • They know when to ask for help.
    • They take the initiative to make changes when needed.
    • They welcome constructive criticism and advice from colleagues.
    • They communicate with parents in a timely manner any concerns or issues pertaining to students.
  5. Excellent teachers are lifelong learners and work to become experts:
    • In their disciplines
    • Of teaching and pedagogy
    • About the students in their classrooms
  6. Excellent teachers accommodate different students.
    • They teach to different ability levels and learning styles.
    • They provide individual help and are available to offer help as requested/needed.
    • They are flexible and adapt to different students.
    • Their lessons and materials are age- and mission-appropriate.
  7. Excellent teachers design their courses well.
    • Their lessons are carefully planned and effectively delivered.
    • They regularly evaluate their teaching practices and materials.
    • They create meaningful assignments, assessments, and exams in partnership with colleagues, department chairs, and division heads.
    • They create dynamic, meaningful courses that focus on the needs of college bound students.
    • They provide clear, concise, and meaningful assignments each week directly related to daily coursework, and communicate them to students via perkiomen.org on the first class day of every school week.
  8. Excellent teachers enjoy their work and have a sense of humor.
    • Teachers are always supportive and understanding, never overly judgmental or moralistic.
    • Teachers recognize that they are working with teenagers who are still developing their sense of right and wrong, and revel in working with this age group as they mature toward adulthood.
    • Teachers enjoy engaging with students knowing that every interaction – from dress code violations to being late to class – is a teaching moment.
    • Teachers can enjoy a laugh with students or console them when they need a sympathetic ear.

The document "What Excellent Teachers Do at Perkiomen School" is based on best practices documents such as those created by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and other organizations that support schools.