What do you think makes a good teacher? Being a teacher myself, I think about this on a daily basis. I would ask myself, are they learning anything? Are they inspired? Are they excited? If I would come across a student that looked bored I would instantly take it personally and blame it on my not being inspiring enough.
No one can be on the ball all the time, but I find that examining some of my personal mentors, I found that there might be a slight pattern for it.
One man that I admire is Randy Pausch. I have watched his lecture multiple times, and have read his book many times as well. Each time I find myself so drawn to his charismatic personality.
1) He does not give up. On himself or other people.
“Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting.”
I think about this when I am impatient with my siblings or my close friends. We can get on each others nerves sometimes and it is so easy to make that one negative trait define them. Don’t let it. People can change if given enough time and chances.
2) He is super encouraging.
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
These days I try to keep this quote in my head. The brick walls seem extra tall some days and it is easy to forget that there are always ways around it if we work hard. Carry that sledge hammer with you at all times.
3) He is an opportunist.
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
We have each day to make the best of it. We can sit around all day and have our brains on autopilot, or we can donate our thoughts to positive causes. It is so easy to blame our circumstances for where we are in life. Find out what you want to do, plan it out, and live it out.
4) He is truthful.
“If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If got three more words, I’d add, all the time.”
These days, so many things are acceptable and normal. One of them is lying, and I dislike it very much. I was raised to tell the truth, and I agree with him 100% when he says it builds more character then you know.
5) He is a hard worker.
“A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.”
At the end of my life, I would like to say that I tried. None of that, “If it had not been for this I could have been this kind of person, yada yada.”
These are a few of many great quotes from him. Despite his many challenges, he always tried to maintain a positive outlook. I want to do that too.
Again, what makes a good teacher? A good teacher could be compared to a DJ.
1. Sifts what matters from everything else
2. Creates the right mix for the occasion
3. Leads and responds to the audience.
No two people are alike, and I believe that the best teachers are masters at adaption. They know what the individual needs, and what requires their attention. The best teachers care for you and treat your problems like their own. If you are passive about your job, and don’t find ways into your students shoes, then they won’t let you into your hearts or their brains. Ultimately a good teacher is someone that we can take with us, not just on our learning journey, but our life journey. They are there to offer an ear when we need it and not just a hand to dish out the grades. I want to be there for my students and friends, not just for my own gain, but for their wellbeing. The greatest gift a teacher can have is to have the honor to impact their lives.