Tuesday, 30 October 2012

What Makes a GREAT Teacher?

IMAGE: Facebook/Thoughts For Teachers

World Teacher Day was celebrated in Australia on Friday (October 26th).
This got me thinking about the true value of teachers and about the attributes that distinguish a good teacher from a really GREAT teacher.
Professor Robert Lee Madison, Institute Founder of Western Carolina University believes that, ‘The true value of a teacher is determined not by what he knows, nor his ability to impart what he knows, but by his ability to stimulate in others a desire to know.’
This is true of all good teachers. However, I believe that what makes teachers GREAT, is not only about what they DO, it's about who they ARE.
GREAT teachers are BORN to teach. They have an innate passion and ability for drawing out the strengths and talents of their students and inspiring them to WANT to learn.
Great teachers are dedicated to enabling their students to be the best that they can be, and have a way of making each student feel valued and that someone BELIEVES in them.
Astronaut, Sally Ride, shares this story, ‘ When I was a girl, I had a teacher who encouraged my interest in science. She challenged me to be curious, to ask questions, and to think about things for myself. She helped build my self-confidence. All of these things helped me to become a scientist and an astronaut.’
What a wonderful tribute to an inspirational teacher!
IMAGE: bing.com
If I were to name ONE truly inspirational teacher who influenced the course of my own life, I would say, without a moment’s hesitation, that I would look no further than my own father, Francis Joseph O'Hanlon.
As with all great teachers, he taught by example.
Dad was kind, patient and loving. A humble academic, in possession of a fine mind and rapier-sharp wit, he instilled in me a life-long love for singing, writing, and the beauty of the English language.
A man of simple means, he shared everything he had - his time, his knowledge, and his love of learning. As with all great teachers, he inspired his students to settle for nothing less than his/her best.


Image: Facebook/Thought For Teachers

Great teachers CARE, and it shows. The impact and influence of their caring extends far beyond the classroom.
Each year, when the School Leaving Certificates rolled around, our house would become a veritable drop-in classroom for Dad's high school students (for whom he provided – gratis- last minute coaching lessons).

The love and gratitude of his students was evidenced by the smiling, triumphant faces that would roll up to our door on exam results day, excitedly waving their bits of paper – proof that their extra work had, indeed, paid off.
The student guard of honour at his Irish funeral, to celebrate his 64 year life, was a very moving and fitting tribute to a truly great teacher.
He loved his work and his students, and, even though he cautioned his 5 children against entering the teaching profession (3 of us did), he was the first one at school every morning, and the last one to leave in the afternoon!
Image: Facebook/Marie Suk Body Mind Spirit Integration and Healing

My daughter, TNT (The New Teacher) has now taken up the mantle. A born teacher, she wants to make a difference. Having recently returned from volunteer work in a South American orphanage, something tells me she already is. 

Here's to all teachers, everywhere! Ours is a privileged profession, and let's never forget that (to borrow a  quote from 'The Education Of Henry Adams', U.S. author, autobiographer, & historian, Henry Adams (1838-1918):  

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.’  

Insert image: Facebook/Ripple Kindness Cards

Yours in Teaching,

Q: What do you consider to be traits of a GREAT teacher?


HEART OF A TEACHER by Paula Fox:  A short, inspirational movie from Simple Truths:

An Inspirational Teacher Quote Presentation: 

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  1. Hi,
    I just love your blog. I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. Check it out: Teaching is Elementary

    1. Hi Nancy,

      What a lovely, kind thing to say and do!

      I really appreciate your thoughtfulness, and will, indeed be checking out the link you provided.

      I'll be putting up my latest post within the next couple of days - so watch this space!

      Kindest Regards and Happy Teaching,

      Nuala ♫

      P.S. My late mother-in-law's name was Nancye (with an 'e'! :-)

  2. I want to learn continuously.. Teaching helps me fill the eternally "knowledge thirsty" lacunae in my methodologies.