The word teacher may evoke fond memories or make you shudder in horror. The best teachers are people with great curiosity, interested in learning new things for themselves, and able to encourage the same in other people.
A great teacher must have imagination, able to translate the most complex information into something that makes sense to the learner. To do that, they must understand learning styles because not every learner assimilates information in the same way.
A great teacher is resourceful. Whether it’s using the internet or applying for grants or taking advantage of a cloudy sky to teach about cloud types and weather, teaching requires using every tool available to spark enthusiasm and encourage curiosity.
I remember every one of my elementary school teachers. Only one could be said to be a nightmare, the kind that would be a caricature in a teen angst movie. Sixth grade. She gave me my first F grade. Penmanship. Why? Because I’m left-handed but didn’t write with a backslant. My penmanship was perfect for a right-handed person. I was devastated.
Nerdy Girl’s third-grade teacher is a great teacher. She teaches gifted education in a public school district where money goes to those with learning disabilities, not those who are above-average learners. She recognizes individuality in her students. During quiet study time, Nerdy Girl was disruptive and talkative. The solution? Allow Nerdy Girl to have an MP3 player. Why? Because if Nerdy Girl was listening, she wasn’t talking.
I think Bill Gates would be an excellent teacher. In his book, The Road Ahead (1995), he explained binary numbers in such a way that, for the first time, it was easy for me to understand. He takes complex information and translates it into a simple idea.
I think I’m a good teacher although Nerdy Girl is sometimes amazed at the things I find interesting and worth learning about. I remember encouraging her to read. I did what my fourth-grade teacher did… I read the first chapter of a good book and then set it aside. Nerdy Girl was 6 years old and finished Charlotte’s Web in less than a day. From that day forward, she couldn’t get books fast enough.
A great teacher doesn’t have to know everything about a subject to have credibility. Sometimes, it’s okay to be willing to learn with the student. Bring the resources, the curiosity, the ability to restate concepts in other ways, and the genuine desire to know all that is worth knowing.
Submitted to: Daily Posts http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/daily-prompt-greatness/