The Caring Teacher: Insights and Inventory!

By Edward F. DeRoche

Near the end of the 1972 movie version of the Broadway musical 1776, John Adams is by himself in the congressional chamber after all of the delegates, friends and foes, have walked out on him.  He has refused to budge on abolishing slavery in the new Constitution, and now all is lost, or so it seems. Alone in the dark, Adams asks, “Is anybody there?  Does anybody care?”

In this blog I am going to try something different, something I have not done in past blogs.  I am going to ask you to determine the extent to which YOU create a CARING classroom.

Here is what I did.  I developed a self-inventory (based on research) of 10 “caring factors.”  My general question to you is:

How would your students rate you as being a CARING teacher?

____ Among the most caring teacher in this school

____ About average when compared to other teachers

____ Something most of them think I need to work on

____ From what I hear and see, not very caring

Let’s get more specific.  

Below are the 10 “caring factors.”  If you want a “rating rubric” for each of the 10 “habits,” I’ve included one example.  It might be best to make your own rubric.    

  ___I do this well    ___I don’t do enough of this   ___I really need to work on this

  1. I know each of my students’ academic and social needs.
  2. I have no problems giving my students a second chance.
  3. I willingly talk to my students about their in-class and out of class problems. 
  4. I help my students set goals and offer advice regarding each goal on their list. 
  5. My students know that I care about them and will help them in any way I can.
  6. I encourage my students to do the best that they can.
  7. I’ll go the “extra-mile” for each of my students.
  8. My students know and appreciate that I listen to what they say even if they might be wrong.
  9. I frequently ask each of my students for their opinions and their concerns. 
  10. I show genuine interest in my students because I know each of them as individuals.

Alfie Kohn (PDK, March 1991) wrote: “It is both realistic and valuable to attend to what students learn in the classroom about getting along with their peers.  Children can indeed be raised to work with, care for, and help one another.  And schools must begin to play an integral role in that process.”

Gail Connelly, the NAESP Executive Director writes: “Effective teachers do all three of the following.  They are extremely good classroom managers.  They know how to teach lessons that engage students, spark their eagerness to continue learning, and then lead them to the mastery of the subject matter.  They have positive expectations for student success.”  In other words, they care.  (

Annette Breaux is an internationally renowned author and speaker.  Several years ago she wrote an article addressing the questions: Can anyone be a great teacher? 

(SmartBlogs on Education: Can anyone be a great teacher?, February 2013)

She wrote that great teachers [I’ll add caring teachers here] “are positive, kind, compassionate, patient people; don’t impose their moods on their students; have a sense of humor and share it daily with their students; recognize the importance of establishing positive relationships with their students; have high expectations of all students; and that they are not perfect teachers and when they make mistakes, they act as good role models do, admitting their mistakes, learning from these mistakes and offering apologies if necessary.” 

If you read our newsletters and blogs, you know that we always include the tag-line—“Those who care, share.”


DeRoche, E., Evaluating Character Development: 51 Tools for Measuring Success. 2004 / Section 5: 

1) Classroom Community Inventory

2) Teacher Observation Scale

3) Caring Teacher Inventory

4) Teacher as Model: Student Views

5) Teaching Values Reflection Scale

Edward DeRoche, Ph.D., Director
Character Education Resource Center
Department of Learning & Teaching /University of San Diego
Website:  http:/


December 2022 BLOG

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