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A great teacher can change a student’s life forever. But ask a hundred different students the question of what makes a great teacher, and you will get about a hundred different answers. (Of course, teachers that don’t give out as much homework is one of the top answers 😊) Everyone has an opinion on why certain teachers stand out above the rest. Check out what some of our parents and students think a teacher needs to be great!
There is the old saying that someone may not remember what you said over time, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Nothing can be more accurate for a teacher. Children spend most of their day with their teachers during the week. The learning part is what they are there for, but the feeling part is what they’ll remember most. Most of us can still recall tales from our years in school, and much of it is based on how individual teachers treated us and made us feel. A bit of kindness to students can go a long way and teaches them to show that same kindness to others.
All teachers expect the best out of their students. The great teachers provide the encouragement needed for them to achieve their bests. Sometimes it is done through a friendly pep talk. Other times it is accomplished by a stern lecture about not settling for less. Every student will go through challenges, a great teacher will not only support them but encourage them to get through these challenges. Expecting the best and encouraging the best are two different things. Students have to feel you have their back!
Textbooks should be viewed as supplemental material, not as the be all and end all of learning in the classroom. Students learn in different ways. Some learn best by reading, some by video, some by lecture, some by group learning, some by discussion, and others through technology. It is up to the teacher to know their students and introduce what works best for them. Make learning fun for them. Think outside the box, and we bet you could be Teacher of the year!
The most valuable thing we all have is time. It takes personal time at home to create your lesson plans and answer all the emails that come in from parents. It takes time and extra energy to really get to know your students on a personal level and find out what makes them tick. But there are other sacrifices great teachers make that most of the time go unnoticed. Offering to share your lunch with a student that forgot his or hers or perhaps doesn’t have the money, purchasing classroom supplies for students, coming in before school starts to help a struggling student, and so much more. You may feel these things go unnoticed, but we assure you several students and parents will remember those sacrifices you made for them.
Knowing the Latest Thing
Students always remember the “cool” teachers, the ones that know what is happening in the world. The latest trend in technology, how to use the right filter for Instagram, how to play Fortnite, etc. A teacher that can speak their language and really show an interest in what’s happening in their lives validates their students. So come on play a game a fortnight, make an Instagram Story, or play the latest Arianna Grande song in class then talk about it with your students. They may tease you a bit, but bet they go home smiling each day.
A Sense of Humor
YES, one that has a sense of humor is the most likely to receive Super Hero status in the classroom. We know there are many stressful moments throughout the school year and perhaps even throughout the day, so the ability to retain a sense of humor requires superhero power. Being able to joke and laugh with your students shows that you are human. Let’s face it, something we think is so small feels like it is life and death to our students. It is important not to make light of a serious situation but to help them realize this moment will pass, and they will survive. Sometimes laughter can heal, so share a little laugh once in a while.
By Ryan Crawley
Ryan Crawley is an education and fitness guru currently making his home in Illinois. He always tries to look on the humorous side of things as he has spent years teaching, training, and writing.