Hi Wonderful Listeners!
You know, lately I’ve been thinking about school. I mean, if I’m attending school then of course it would have to cross my mind, right? Anyway, what has enticed my mind recently is the idea of a teacher. Where I attend college, I happen to encounter many wonderful professors; my college is lucky in that regard. Yet, even though there are many great teachers, only a few ever make a mark on my psyche or life.
That got me to thinking: what makes a good teacher and how do you know you have a good one? For any student, a conscious concern is experiencing a learning environment with a great leader to guide you through it. If there’s one thing that I think a lot of students hate, it’s when they have a class (that could’ve been a wonderful experience) and it’s ruined by a horrible educator. I know I have personally been there and done that.
For instance, last year I took a biology course to account for my science credit. While I personally was never all that good at biology (because I just naturally excelled in physics and chemistry), I was optimistic that maybe that could be changed. Well, unfortunately, that was not the case. My biology professor was quite horrendous and I found it difficult to learn from him. Somehow I passed the course but that was due to outside learning and extensive research by my own will. To be honest, I suppose I should have given him some slack since it was his first time teaching outside of a practice classroom; still, it only showed how unprepared he was (in my eyes.)
There were two big reasons why his course was difficult to pass. One reason was because he did not known how to command a classroom. His presence was not captivating and demanding enough to keep a lecture hall in order. If you’re going to lecture over 200 students at one time, the least you can do is make sure everyone is knows when you walk in the room.
The other reason is because he had a horrid habit of correcting himself all the time. Now correcting yourself is a good thing, but he corrected himself constantly within short spans of time, as if he wasn’t thinking about what he was going to say before he said it. That habit made it difficult to connect the dots and follow at his pace to understand what he was trying to convey. Needless to say, I did not enjoy taking his course but I made it through. Things could’ve been much different if maybe he didn’t possess these flaws but I will never know.
On the flipside, I’ve had a wonderful experience with my professors at my college. Many of them have been great teachers that I have learned a lot from. Lots of them had many traits in common, like for example, being consistent and easy to follow. Not muddling the information that must be absorbed and putting it in layman language can make all the difference. Or, even having a captivating presence that calmly forces you to pay attention; that always makes absorbing the information easier, especially when they’re passionate! Also, another thing that made all the other professors wonderful was that they were readily available to help you if you asked them to help you. Yeah, in college, I find that teachers aren’t aliens like they were in high school; instead they’re human and easier to approach as long as you approach them.
That’s probably the second biggest thing about what makes a teacher great: being human. If you as an educator can convince the growing children and young adults that you are just like them, filled with flaws and yet something charming, you can make a good learner out of them and in turn a great teacher out of yourself.
Still, these are the qualities that make a teacher great but one thing separates a great teacher from a grand and unforgettable one. What is this quality? Simple, a change in life’s perspective for the better. It takes quite a charming person to change how you view the world and life in general. That’s a quality that comes out and goes beyond teaching information; it goes the very core of your soul and tweaks it just enough to give it a new sheen. Sometimes, it’s a simple as saying, “If you need me, I am here for you” or “It’ll work as long as you don’t give up.” This quality is always elusive because it is not one with a face or a footprint to recognize it by. It simply appears in your presence one day and then vanishes.
Those teachers who possess this quality are few and far between and as a student, when we find one, we should hold on to them for as long as we can. Sure, it may sound weird but it’s always beneficial. In fact, if we can cultivate this small little trait in ourselves, we too can become a grand teacher. Even if we were to teach one lesson to even just one person in life, it will be our footprint left on the world.
In my opinion, grand teachers aren’t completely made. They always contain a mystical quality that cannot be reproduced and programmed; it simply blossoms from nothing, in an instant. And for the teachers, who grace the world, making it a better place, thank you. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for helping me grow. Thank you for all that you do, even if I don’t realize you’ve done it. We don’t thank you enough.
So, whether or not you’re in school, doesn’t matter. Teachers are all around us. Some get you by and others go beyond the minimum. For those who go beyond, those are the ones to look for, in school and in life. Much like an Easter egg hunt, the golden egg is always the hardest to find but, it’s always the most rewarding when found. I can say I’ve only found four golden eggs; four teachers who changed my life in some subtle but grand way. I consider myself lucky for having more than most. So as long as I continue to hunt through the grounds called life looking for eggs, I’ll continue to grab the ones I see but I will always make room for the golden ones. They are the ones that can’t be replaced.
Have you found any golden eggs yet? In your experience, does what I said about teachers stand true or not? Leave your thoughts below.