What makes a teacher great?

There’s been too much written on this topic already, and more undoubtedly will be.  I could add my voice to the cacophony, but why would I, when I know a lot of people who could speak on the issue better than I?

No, I’m not talking about policy makers, or politicians, or administrators, or union leaders, or other teachers.

I’m talking about my students.

You want to know what makes a teacher great?  Here’s what they had to say:

[A] teacher is a rare person. Personally I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do. They can take a small simple class room and turn it into a safe place. They also change your perspective on how you see the world and that’s something special. Very few people could go in front of a room of kids/teenagers and get them to focus on a single topic and be able to keep them engaged. Teachers can connect to their students in a way that no one else really can. The life/personal lessons you learn from teachers will stay with you for quite some time (trust me on that one). This is what makes teachers great.    –Amber

Then there’s this:

What makes a teacher great is when they care more for the students than themselves. I love it when the teacher goes above and beyond and they go underappreciated, but they don’t care. They’re happy when the students succeed.  -Alejandra

And this:

A great teacher is someone who loves what they are doing and is passionate about their students. One can always tell between the teachers who are there for a paycheck and the teacher who is there to inspire his/her students to be someone great. They see the potential in students no one else sees. Frankly, they are the most powerful individuals and it is sad they do not receive enough credit for the amazing things they do!    –Arianna

And also this:

I think that a great teacher is someone that does whatever they can to help their students succeed. They sacrifice their time for us and make us feel like we can accomplish anything. They believe in us no matter what, and they’re very hard to find! (We’ve been lucky enough to have a few of these kinds of teachers in our lives!)   –Shelby

And finally, this:

Firstly, a teacher does not become a great teacher by having all their students pass every exam or never assigning homework. A teacher becomes great when he or she is potent enough to come to school wearing the shoes of his or her students. When a teacher acknowledges that they were once a student, thus knowing the struggles one undergoes in a particular topic, he or she is able to think like a student. I don’t mean to say a teacher should degrade their minds or behave foolish to satisfy the class, but merely become a friend that cares. Students dislike school because of its rigorous courses and energy-draining lectures. Once a teacher becomes a friend to his or her students, caring so passionately about their students’ education, demonstrating hope, faithfulness, love, kindness, patience, gentleness, peace, goodness, self-control, and joy, then they are Great. A student may never realize or seem to care about how much their teacher puts in to teaching the kids of the future, but a great teacher does not care about the physical or sentimental rewards in teaching. A great teacher is not one that a student calls great, or an administrative employee, or principal. A great teacher is one that sacrifices their desires to teach those that could have them!   –Daniel

Thanks, kiddos.  The pleasure was all mine.

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