Everyone can think back to their years as a learner and you can remember at least one teacher that stood out as truly outstanding for you. We’ve all had that teacher at some point in our lives. It can be really difficult to determine what makes a teacher remarkable. We know it when we see it or experience it, but putting our experience into words can be challenging.

  • A teacher must care about his/her learners inside and outside the classroom

Whether you cheer for your learners on the playground or applauding their problem solving skills in class, learners appreciate teachers that show them they not only care about how they are doing in class, but also out of class too.

Leaners love being able to talk to their teachers about life and other things that are not related to the subject at hand. They tend to feel great when they know that there’s another adult that they can talk to and trust instead of talking to their parents.

I’ve seen a lot of learners at the school that I used to work at that keep in touch with their teachers during school holidays. Whether they meet for coffee, lunch or ice cream, learner-teacher relationships are unparalleled. Having an exceptional relationship with your leaners makes them to look forward to school every morning and they will work harder in class just to show the love and care for their teacher.

  • You must be passionate about your job

The best teachers are not always the ones that are teaching the difficult subjects like Physical Science or Mathematics.

I had a learner at my previous school that was doing grade 10 at the time. She was in the science stream and she went to attend a history class one day, a subject that she was not registered for, and appreciated the information she learned in a week than what she has learned the entire year in science.

“The teacher was strange because he was incredibly passionate about history studies. When imagining a teacher discussing the French Revolution, many would picture a bunch of French people staring out into space, barely listening. But, when Meneer. D talked, no heads went down and no eyes wandered. Everyone was focused intently on what he told us because his passion for the subject was contagious. I admire teachers that are so passionate about their subject that they inspire learners to look further into it, ask questions, and leave the class with a sense of wonder about learning something genuinely new and interesting”.

  • Prepare unforgettable lesson plans

When I was in school myself, my 10th grade English teacher was an incredible teacher. His lessons were the type that stuck with us long after leaving his class. Each lesson had a lot of thought put into it and was obviously well planned without making us feel as though we were robots following a plan down to the last second. I would go home and tell my Gogo about the exciting things we did in class on a near-daily basis.

Even though I took his class nearly 2 decades ago, I clearly remember the fun we had playing Shakespeare – he went from group to group, pointing out cool things, answering a lot of questions, and comforting those who are “just playing around”. He loved us and we loved him. His immense amount of passion, knowledge, and love made him an outstanding teacher.

4. You must not be afraid to be challenged by your learners

You know I had an unforgettable teacher during my first year of high school. He consistently challenged and debated with us in class and he welcomed the opportunity for us to disagree with him. In a society where learners are always expected to accept what the authority figure says, having a teacher who allowed us to challenge him was an eye-opening experience I guess that’s why I decided to be a teacher as well.

No matter the topic, if we had a different opinion, he wanted to hear it. At first, it was strange to debate with a teacher and a bit upsetting that he was not shy about pointing out a flaw in our argument. But, by the end of the year, I appreciated having a teacher that I could be completely honest with about the subject, knowing he would bring up a point that would have me thinking about my argument in an entirely new way.

I know that the above points are not the only ones that make a great teacher but in the end, the best teachers aren’t always the ones striving out for the best marks. Rather, a teacher that challenge, inspire, and truly care for his learners is the one that make a lasting impact.

Now it’s your turn, what do you think makes a great teacher? Please leave a comment below.

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