We know they exist because we had them while growing up. Great teachers and poor teachers can impact the life and direction of a child more than anyone else. But what distinguishes one from the other? What are the signs of great teachers and poor teachers? Here are my thoughts…
- Great teachers “get” to go to work. Poor teachers “have” to go to work.
- Great teachers are still learning. Poor teachers know everything.
- Great teachers control their classroom through love and respect. Poor teachers control their classroom through punitive action and intimidation.
- Great teachers think outside of the box. Poor teachers are constrained to the thinking of “this is how we’ve always done it”.
- Great teachers meet students where they are. Poor teachers refuse to adjust standards for students who need a hand.
- Great teachers may still raise their voices when disciplining, but the kids know they are still loved. Poor teachers raise their voices when disciplining, and the kids are reaffirmed in their feelings that these teachers really don’t care about them.
- Great teachers may let their hair down with their friends, but never forget they are ambassadors for their school and community. Poor teachers not only let their hair down with their friends, but their moral standards as well.
- Great teachers consider what is in the best interest of the school as a whole. Poor teachers rarely look beyond their own classroom.
- Great teachers are problem solvers. Poor teachers are problem creators.
- Great teachers are great listeners as well as articulate speakers. Poor teachers may be strong in one of those areas, but rarely in both.
When I think back to the greatest teachers I have ever had or worked with, I rarely ever remember the lesson they actually taught. What stands out in my memory is how they made me feel.
When working with students, parents, or colleagues, our ultimate goal isn’t to transfer knowledge. The most important part of your encounter is for you to connect. Without connection, nothing else will matter.
Connection is that point when two people really understand each other. It’s the moment when I’ve heard you and you’ve heard me; When misunderstandings have been cleared up; When agreement has been made to move forward.
Connection is when you’ve no longer been given permission to speak, but to be heard. THAT is what will make all of the difference.
QUESTION: How are you doing at connecting with others? What are some of the qualities that you would add to this list?
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