Everyone remembers that one teacher that actually made a difference in their life. That teacher was able to connect with a student in a way that no other could. The student felt seen and heard.
There are many skills a good teacher requires and communication is among the top critical qualification. Not only do they need to be able to make their message clear, they are also need to have the listening skills of a saint and the knowledge and compassion that comes only after years of working with people.
A teacher who can be entertaining is a great asset. Have you ever seen a bored student thrive in class? They end up surfing the web or texting on their mobile phone – basically zoning out completely. So if a teacher is part song-and-dance woman, they have a distinct advantage.
An engaging teacher is passionate about their subject. It’s isn’t possible to feign interest in something and students can smell a fake a mile away. Great teachers also need insight into human nature, possess a wry sense of humor and have an indisputable command of their subject.
Teachers who make lasting impressions know who they are at their core and their level of compassion is high and education means the world to them. They want students to succeed and do well in the world and so they go the “extra mile” when it’s required, and in teaching, that’s almost always.
Great people, including teachers, have a high emotional intelligence and aren’t easily hooked into ego trips that take them off course from what is most important – teaching the students. So when the inevitable crisis occurs, and personality conflicts arise as they always do, the good teacher keeps their cool and steers the boat in the direction of goodwill for all. Sometimes life lessons trump class assignments in terms of teachable moments.
Good teachers treat their students with respect and are enthusiastic about life and learning all of the time. In short, they are responsible for the energy they bring every time they enter the classroom because what they think and feel and how they act is what the students will learn is most important. A great teacher is a shining example.
Yeah they bring the right tools, create an interesting syllabus, show up for the extra help sessions some student always needs, and make themselves available a lot.
But what is most critical is that they make a real-life connection to their students and to the legacy that they leave behind each and every semester.
All hail the great teachers of the planet. We never forget them.