What Makes a Great Teacher?

Do you ever find yourself wondering what makes a great teacher? Or how can you be a great teacher? Here are some insights:

They believe teaching is their calling. “…despite my struggles to be the different one in the family…I felt it was my calling. It was put on my heart.”

They take responsibility for their students’ success. “I can’t put the burden of that child’s success on someone else when I know that it’s me all day long. So I carry the burden on my shoulder proudly. I want to know that I have done right by that child. They deserve that from me. That’s my job.”

They’re lifelong learners. “You have to learn new ways [of teaching] through mentoring and teacher induction programs and college of education and field experiences.”

They go the extra mile, and then some. “He was coming to school late every day and missing breakfast. Well, I started keeping snacks and things in my cabinet to give him. Every morning, he would come in late. And I’d let him go to his private little area and eat a granola bar for breakfast.”

They know each student personally. “We have open strong relationships…I think my students feel very comfortable in my classroom. They know that my room is a safe place; they can come in when they need to.”

They value collaboration. “We have collaboration once a month at faculty meetings where someone’s showcasing what they’re doing in their classroom…and teachers figure out ways to adapt that to their subject area. It’s huge.”

They are exuberant, positive, and undaunted. “Anything you can do to capture their excitement and get them to know that you can have fun while you learn and listen.” They know that reading at home is key. “I feel that early on, the best thing a parent can do is read every single night to their children…I know teachers say it all the time, but if you read to them, you’re your child’s best teacher.”

They believe that every child can learn. “If you asked me my teaching philosophy–I know it’s clichĂ©–but it’s that all children can succeed…that’s a daunting task for us educators.”

They know the need for community support. “…I always say it takes a community to teach our students. It’s not just one teacher. Community is key. The community is what we need to help us in the classroom.”

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