George Lucas Educational Foundation

The Power of Teachers: The Opportunity to Shape Lives

George Lucas offers ideas for preparing educators for their all-important role.
George Lucas
Filmmaker and Founder, George Lucas Educational Foundation
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share


The title conveys the highest responsibility of adults towards children. Apart from my parents, my teachers have done the most to shape my life. From kindergarten through college, their struggle -- and it was a struggle -- to help me grow and learn was not in vain. And I greatly appreciate their efforts.

There is no more critical need in our society today than preparing teachers who know their subject matter well and who understand the social and emotional needs of students. After decades of classifying or transporting students, or changing the textbooks and the tests, we now understand that the most active ingredients in improving schools are the knowledge and skills of our teachers. Education is now arriving at the same conclusion as other fields, such as business, medicine, the media, and the military: Investing in professional development should be the number one priority.

As schools of education and educational agencies move to develop a profession of teaching for the future, our Foundation hopes that greater emphasis will be placed on teachers:

  • spending more time, earlier in their student teaching, in direct contact with students in classrooms.
  • guiding students to use technology to find the latest information, assess its validity, and communicate with experts.
  • presenting curriculum that is both rigorous and integrated -- addressing, for instance, both history and science, as James Burke's Connections television series did so well.
  • understanding that students' attitudes and emotions need nurturing in the learning process. It's about their hearts, as well as their minds.

Investing in teachers and supporting their learning are the keys to improving our schools. We believe that teachers should themselves be learners because the current state of content knowledge, as well as our understanding about how to teach, improves constantly.

Those of us who make motion pictures are also teachers: teachers with very loud voices. But we will never match the power of the teacher who is able to whisper in a student's ear.

Comments (9) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Tori's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Mr. Lucas, your article about teachers shaping lives was right on target. In my graduate class, we are reading a book by Sonia Nieto and she also stresses how important knowledge of subject matter is imperative. She discussed the importance of knowing your students culturally and that is not just limited to celebrating the holidays they celebrate.

Your quote at the end of this article was very empowering. It's refreshing to see that people understand the power of a teacher's voice. Thanks for enlightening me.

Patricia Edmondson's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

"Those of us who make motion pictures are also teachers: teachers with very loud voices. But we will never match the power of the teacher who is able to whisper in a student's ear."

Wow. That's profound, and you really understand how important the teacher/student relationship is in learning. This happens best in small classes with caring teachers.


odesanya sunday's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

A teacher should consider it as a great opportunity to shape a life of somebody. Teachers have the highest responsibility in helping children toward their adulthood and prepare them for the future .if a teacher can follow all the four steps mentioned in the article and bu a dynamic teacher of the current methodology in teaching, he would be a source of resourceful for the students.
In the article, I have decoded that no other means of teaching, be it visual or non visual can replace the viability effort of a good teacher.
Thank for that wonderful article "the power of teachers: the opportunity to shape lives"
From Odesanya Sunday

Sudhir Sinha's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Dear Mr. Lucas, I really appreciate your article highlighting the importance of teachers' role in building our society.

When man by the name of Neil Armstrong set his foot on the moon in 1969 - it was just one step for a man but a giant leap for the mankind. Behind this leap was the long hours of day to day scientific research by the scientist, and behind all the scientists was the ordinary day-to-day classroom teaching which is a self evident truth, so it is the good day-to-day classroom teacher on who depends the spectacular leap for the mankind.

The main architect of the future of humanity is no one but the honorable teachers. They not only have to teach their subject to the pupils but even more important, the human values, positive attitude, emotional and psychological resilience, the courage of conviction to call a spade a spade on the face of it, and fully equip their pupils to be able to face the future challenges in their lives squarely and bravely.

6. A student looks at the teacher as a role model, which he or she likes to emulate if that teacher is able to have a lasting positive impression on his/her pupils. Teachers must remember, a child sees them as the source of all Inspiration and Truth in life.
7. Whatever a teacher does, shapes the future and affects the life of all her students. And what our children are going to become tomorrow directly affects the well being of the Society, Country and the World at large. You are directly involved in building the next generation.

Sharlene Cristobal's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

When Isaac Newton became famous, he simply stated that success is one percent talent and ninety nine percent perspiration.
Through this I can say that teachers are only part of our success not the whole thing itself. It is through our hard labor, toil, and patience that we are able to study complicated and hard to understand books and apply it to everyday life. And this... is what's behind everyday success.

admssmith's picture

I have decoded that no other method of instruction, whether pictures or other visual viability of efforts to replace the good teacher. Thanks for the great article that "the power of teachers: the ability to influence the lives of" Since Sunday Odesanya

salman's picture

These all comments are good and useful for us thanks for shearing great

Acer's picture

Teachers only show the path and remaining it depends upon us what to do and what not. Our hard works and effort make us what we want to be. When a student didn't get a good grade, they (guardian) put the blame on teacher but it's a total misconception. It's not teacher the student is guilty for it. Teacher, they only share what they know and remaining part we have to elaborate it our self.

qwester32's picture
Octogenarian Engineer, eurekan , early neuronal myelination advocate

Mother is the first teacher, even before birth. Grandmothers teach mothers. Those cultures that preserve this relationship are high on the STEM achievement list. Academicians have a higher chance of success with those children. Teach a child how to learn and that joy will propel it toward independent success. Be curious!

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.