Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

~ Albert Einstein ~

What Makes a Great Teacher?

October 16th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 19 secs

A good teacher is a fabulous asset.

A good teacher is a fabulous asset.

Teachers come in all types. Some clever, some sadly lacking. But a great teacher? Now that is someone special.

If you have been fortunate, you have come across one or two of these types in your life. They are wonderful to be around. Yet, in many respects, they are also quite ordinary, at least to look at. Appearance is never a factor when it comes to great teachers.

So what is it about these rare individuals that makes them such marvelous communicators? Well, here is a list of what I perceive to be  some of their special qualities.

A good teacher:

  • Cares.  I can think of no more important element than having a genuine concern for you. Already, this one element puts them streets ahead of all the rest.
  • Loves learning (not just about their subject, but about everything in general).Great teachers enjoy learning so much they make you want to too.
  • Listens to you. They tune into your feelings and take an interest in how you are going, day by day. Then, rather than telling you how you should be feeling, they seem to understand that life isn’t always as neat as it seems.
  • Has standards. Yep. While they are caring and empathic, great teachers also are there to help you succeed. That means they can sometimes be egging you  on one moment and being tough as nails the next. But if they are good at their work, you fully understand what they are getting at (Even if you don’t want to do what they want you to do!).
  • Turns a blind eye now and then. Rather than being sticklers for the rules and always nit-picking, a great teacher pretends not to notice that you forgot to do your homework (because you usually do remember to).
  • Admires you. Yes, they respect you, and that is awfully hard to resist.
  • Has fun and knows how it feels to be at the receiving end. Instead of hiding behind a professional air, they want to bring you with them on a quest for discovery with a reliability that comes from enthusiasm and understanding.
  • Is solidly dependable. Whatever happens, a good teacher is stable and steady in their service to help you achieve. That’s a tall order for anybody. But students need to have complete confidence in what they are doing. So a great teacher needs to be a reliable leader.
  • Makes for feel you are smart, capable, and want to impress them. By creating a climate of acceptance, interest, and self-respect, a great teacher will help you to rise.

Great teachers also have a small ego. They want you to be better at doing things than they are and they get their kicks from seeing you achieve. If you have ever had a teacher like that, consider yourself blessed. Or, if you happen to be that kind of teacher to kids or other adults, thank you for doing the marvelous work that you do.

Still, whether we are in a classroom situation or not, all of us are teachers in some ways. Meaning, it’s always good to try to apply these principles. In the process, not only do we gain a lot of insight, but we also do others a great favor… by bringing  out more of the best in ourselves.

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