Is able to clearly put forth the material
Be willing to make sure everyone gets it (alot harder in college with 100+ student lectures sometimes)
Gives out an appropriate amount of work
Those are just three general things that make a good teacher. There are aspects that I prefer, such as in-depth lecture material (as opposed to brief summary and leaving you to read the book for the rest) that other people hate, so it's hard to get any more specific.
Some teachers are really strict, but that seems to be more high school teachers than college. College is pretty laid-back. Just don't bother the other people is most teachers main rule for class. I had high school teachers that wouldn't let you sharpen your pencil unless you asked first. Most are pretty good when it comes to ensuring a good classroom environment.
As for funny teacher stories, I have a few. I was taking an Economics class last year that happened to be a night class. Night classes are a lot more like high school class style in my opinion, and this particular professor was really good, and really laid back also. He set his class up so that you could skip both midterms if you wanted, just to long as you made sure you showed up for the final. I ended up going to the midterms, and at the first one he says "Make sure you have a calculator. If you don't have one, use the calculator function on your cell phone." Everyone that was there kinda looks at him oddly and at each other with the expression of 'Is he serious?' He goes on to say "I cheated a ton in college, so I know all the tricks and I'm really good at spotting cheating. If you can cheat with a cellphone and not get caught by me, you deserve the 'A.'" I don't think anyone tested his cheater-spotting ability.
I really don't like it when teachers have favourites. My maths teacher is one of my favourite teachers because she always speaks very clearly about the material and lays it out so it's really easy. Also right before a test she redoes the material which we've had trouble on. I like funny teachers too, you learn alot more when it's funny.
We used to have a mad science teacher who, amongst several other slightly unconventional lessons, was reputed to blow holes in the cieling with his experiments...the cause of many fire practises ;] They decreased dramatically when he retired lol.
The worst teachers are the ones who believe their opinion is the correct answer, no questions asked. For example, I had a lit teacher who would give her opinion about the reading and then tell other people they were wrong (bear in mind, the author is DEAD so she has no way of knowing a 'correct' answer).
Bad teachers are very easy to identify, for example, I have this math teacher who will stand in front of the class talking the entire time while at the same time staring at the floor, it's a really boring class and I hate it.
That's a good question though. Depends how you look at it. My favourite teacher was a maths one. Little bearded fella, waddled like a penguin. Used to let us listen to our music during class, as long as we got on with work and.. he was a hardcore gamer(!). He was a bit of a joker too but a very smart chap and he did know when to put his foot down and push us back in check. As you can guess, it was very laid back in there (he taught the 'extension' class btw, top one in the year) but as it was a nice atmosphere. We did do our work, enjoyed it and by the end of the whole experience, our group came out with some nice grades.
In hindsight, though, the teacher I respected the most was our English one. He was the exact opposite. No room for jokes or play time. Too much noise, we'd be in silence the rest of the period. Loads of homework, tough grading and didn't like to waste any time at all. Was hard work but he was doing his job and we benefited from it come exam time.
I did well in both, though slightly better in maths. Thinking now, I'd want the English teacher teaching me as penguin mans method was unreliable and easily abused.
It's all about grades at the end of the day. Fun is a bonus. If you're not enjoying it, you're in the wrong class.
Bad teachers; well we had those too. Thinking they can command authority just by yelling or using excessive discipline. "Turn to page 20 and get on with it" wasn't a good sign either. Why if I could go back, I'd fire peas at 'em all. Big, frozen ones. In the eye. :stare:
I didn't like power tripping teachers. There are also teachers who try to encourage you to speak or give an opinion, only if that isn't contrary to his. Then I had a teacher who asked us to pray Hail Mary (or shut up while the rest does) before the start of the class (it was a Christian school but apparently she forgot that not all Christians pray to Mary). I dislike teachers who show obvious favoritism and who you cannot really tell how the grades are given. Like all I need to do is smile, be friendly and pretend I like his jokes then I'm sure to get a good grade. Duh. Who wants to study with that kind of teacher?
Teachers I like are the ones who inspire me. They're so passionate about the subject matter and they become contagious (not irritating).
One of my favorite teachers would ask us to write a reflection paper every week about anything. We had to leave a big right margin for his comments. When the paper comes back to you, you have a feeling of having someone who really listened (in this case read) to whatever you feel like saying. It was like free therapy (and I know in real life my teacher charges a lot for that).
I also like teachers with avant garde style of teaching if it's necessary to make you learn. Think Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society or Dreyfus in Prof. Holland Opus.
For regular teachers: I love them to have a good sense of humor, as well as teach very well. When I get a teacher that can make me laugh, I know I'm going to enjoy the class.
The worst obviously can't teach well, and will put you to sleep. To be honest, I have been fortunate to never have a teacher like this. Some didn't teach as well as others, but none of them were that boring.
For band teachers (because they are a whole different story.): I like for them to challenge us, and I like them not to pick favorites at all. I essentially like them to treat everybody as an equal and not put one above others as much much as possible. Obviously, some bit of competitiveness has to exist, but I like the way my college teacher has done it. We don't have chairs, in fact the trumpet players even switched out parts for different pieces. The first bassoon obviously deserved it, because she is so amazing.
There's no picking favorites in my current band class.
In addition, I like them to be open about switching... or at least trying different instruments. Not everybody starts on the instrument that is right for them for various reasons. I was one of those people. My band directors in high school hated me trying different instruments... They hated anybody trying different instruments. A girl got yelled at, at the end of her senior year, one day after band because she was holding her friend's alto saxophone. I think that's just ridiculous. There were no more contests or even concerts left, and he was never going to see her after a week or so later. (I can't remember exactly when it was.)
My college band director was very open about me switching to bassoon, even though he had known I had been playing trumpet throughout all of middle and high school. (he was there. XD)
Obviously, I love my college band director. He is the best! He gives us challenging music, doesn't really discourage trying different instruments, and doesn't put one above another for no real reason.
My high school band director is the example of everything I hate. We had three very distinct bands, with chairs. Doesn't sound too bad, I did go to a huge high school... But it was obvious to me after the results of my senior audition, favorites were picked. A guy got into Wind Ensemble who not only cared less than me, but also wasn't quite as good as me... Yet I ended up two bands below him, in the bottom band.
He did not like me, and he showed it very clearly. He was a good marching band teacher but everything else? No. Not at all.