You will love this post from a returning guest blogger, Aileen Pablo. I’ve nothing more to say, just enjoy! ~EMP
Most of us are lucky enough to have had at least one exceptional teacher during our school days, and whether they taught us in elementary, middle school, high school or college, we still tend to remember them as if it was just yesterday.
The reason we remember these teachers over all the others who came and went, is that they had something that the others did not. Maybe it was their passion for teaching, or the fact that they took the time to relate to you, or perhaps it was the way they always kept things interesting no matter how dull the subject.
These are the types of teachers that schools need, because they bring out the best in their students and motivate them to change and grow. There is a quote that says: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
This is something we should all strive for; to be great rather than just mediocre, to inspire rather than lecture and most importantly, to effect a positive change in the lives of those we teach and work with.
Here are eight of the most inspiring traits that make a teacher truly great:
A great teacher…
…is passionate about teaching
If nothing else, every teacher should be passionate about their subject and have a passion for teaching. Teachers that love their subject or simply love the fact that they can be there to pass on their knowledge to the next generation are able to inspire their students in a way that no one else can.
Passionate teachers can muster as much enthusiasm about fractions as they might for their favorite sports team or an upcoming vacation, and that kind of enthusiasm is bound to rub off on people.
Great teachers know how to take a standard old curriculum and cover the same material in a way that speaks to students and piques their interest.
Rather than just following the textbook, great educators find ways to make lessons interactive and bring them to life in a way that helps students relate to a topic. Anyone can plan a lesson, but it takes creativity to plan a lesson that will stick with students for years to come.
A great teacher knows that every student is different and that different approaches are necessary in different circumstances. A great teacher is not afraid to bend the rules or put in the extra hours to help a struggling student understand a difficult concept.
Great educators also know that in order to give students a well rounded education, they must embrace different resources and technology. They also know when to scrap a plan and do something spontaneous rather than cling rigidly to the textbook way of doing things.
A great teacher will push through those rough days when students don’t listen, parents are angry and coworkers can’t agree. A great teacher knows that the good days make up for the bad days, no matter how many there may be.
If you want to make it as a teacher you will need to be able to deal with stress and deadlines, but you also need to have the ability to strike a balance between your personal life and your work so that it doesn’t overwhelm you.
…is willing to learn
That’s right! Teachers can learn too. Great teachers don’t close themselves off to new ways of doing things or concepts they may not be familiar with. A great teacher knows that he or she has something to learn from everyone, from their coworker across the hall to that sixteen-year-old in their history class.
If you are eager to learn at every opportunity and are always looking for better and more effective ways of doing things, then you have what it takes to become a great teacher.
…has high expectations
Mediocre teachers set the bar low for fear that their students will fail if they make things to difficult. Great teachers know that in order to bring out the best in their students, they must challenge them with high goals and big expectations.
Great teachers encourage students to take risks and to do more than they thought they were capable of, because they know that adulthood can be competitive.
Sometimes all a student needs is for someone to believe that they can be great rather than just average.
…connects with students
Unless students feel some connection with their teacher, the material they are taught will feel dry and dull and will not feel applicable to their lives. A great teacher knows how to connect with his or her students on a more personal level, which in turn, helps them to relate to what you are teaching them.
Don’t be that teacher that students feel they have nothing in common with and are afraid to approach with questions. Be the teacher who listens, coaches and doesn’t pass judgment prematurely.
Great teachers are great communicators. Not only do they communicate well with their students, they also know how to approach parents, coworkers, managers and principles. They know how to word things so that their message comes across clearly and is not misinterpreted.
Most of all, a great teacher knows that there is a lot more to communication than just speaking.
About the Author:
Aileen Pablo is part of the team behind Open Colleges and OC’s InformED, one of Australia’s leading providers of Open Learning and distance education . When not working, Aileen blogs about education and career.She is often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines.If you are interested in featuring her works in your blog, you can find her on Google+.
Make sure you add to this document!
This is an ongoing list (Google Doc) of people appreciating teachers who have inspired them. It’s great to read through and be sure to add your own entry at the end. Enjoy!