What does it mean to be a great teacher? Of course credentials, knowledge, critical thinking, and all other faculties of intelligence are important. However, a great teacher should be much more than credentials, experience, and intelligence.
What lies in the heart of a great teacher?
You are kind: A great teacher shows kindness to students, colleagues, parents, and those around her or him. My favorite saying is “kindness makes the world go around.” It truly changes the environment in the classroom and school. Being a kind teacher helps students feel welcomed, cared for, and loved.
You are compassionate: Teaching is a very humanistic profession, and compassion is the utmost feeling of understanding and showing others you are concerned about them. A compassionate teacher models that characteristic to the students with her or his actions, and as a result students will be more open to understanding the world around them.
You are empathetic: Empathy is an important trait to have and to try to develop in ourselves and our students. Being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes and see things from their perspective can have a powerful impact on our decisions and actions.
You are positive: Being a positive person is not an easy task. Being a positive teacher is even harder when we’re always met with problems with very limited solutions. However, staying positive when it’s tough can have a tremendous positive impact on the students and everyone around us. Looking on the bright side always seems to help make things better.
You are a builder: A great teacher bridges gaps and builds relationships, friendships, and a community. Teachers always look to make things better and improve things in and outside of the classroom. Building a community is something a great teacher seeks to do in the classroom and extends that to the entire school and its community.
You inspire: Everyone looks at a great teacher and wants to be a better teacher, a better student, and even a better person. A great teacher uncovers hidden treasures, possibilities, and magic right before everyone’s eyes.
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.