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An Extraordinary Teacher

Patricia Brown, a Mathematics high school teacher, walked into class on the first day, after joining Cunningham High School. Many students found Mathematics a turn-off, because of the monotonous style of the previous teacher. They were expecting the same of Patricia. Measurement was the topic of the day. Instead of a classroom session, Patricia took the class out to the Basketball court. She asked students to measure the height of the basket, as well as the length and breadth of the court. At the end of the class, the children had learnt measurements in a new way, and thoroughly enjoyed that. They never again approached Mathematics as a turn-off. Teachers like Patricia Brown are ENGAGING. They keep students actively engaged in the classroom.  The students sail through the class topics with ease.

Tom Jenkins teaches English language and composition at Braintree High School. He exudes WARMTH and ENERGY as he walks into class. Even the most listless and cold children become sprightly and alert in his class. Tom’s energetic demeanour is infectious and spreads warm sunshine all around. No wonder, no student wants to miss his class.

As Bertrand Russell said, “No man can be a good teacher, unless he has feelings of WARM AFFECTION towards his pupils, and a GENUINE DESIRE to impart to them, what he believes to be of value.”  The best teachers don’t get into profession for money, but because they want to make a difference .Teaching can be the most frustrating profession, and yet the most rewarding one, too. People, who are born to teach, understand that extraordinary teachers teach for the RIGHT REASON.

Good teachers are EFFECTIVE and CREATIVE. They are super-prepared. They show flexibility, while dealing with crises and adverse circumstances, but provide a solid foundational structure. They are open to new ideas and are IMAGINATIVE.

Amy Jones, the science teacher at Woodstock Private School believes in MAKING LEARNING EASY. As Louis A. Berman said, A good teacher is a master of simplification, and an enemy of simplicity.” Amy specializes in teaching the most difficult of science concepts through creating an environment that is ideal for learning and fosters positive behaviours. She does not dictate, but encourages.

Great teachers are PASSIONATE. Maya Sampath, a teacher of literature and poetry in Kerala, is passionate about her subjects. Her classes are interesting and not tedious, since she takes her students on interesting mind journeys of discoveries and stories, through poems and prose. The children love her classes of poetry held amongst expansive tea and raised gardens, against the backdrop of green mountains. The impact of these sessions is tremendous and children look forward to them.

Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman, was an introvert and preferred to remain with himself in his shell and concentrate on reading. But he credits his teacher, for helping him come into his own in a way that would change the world forever. She encouraged Gates passion for reading by helping him explores it through the use of introspective questions, such as what he liked to read and why. Next, she went out of her way to source books that were progressively more interesting and challenging for him. Finally, once he did read them, she would discuss with him, if he liked what he read, and more importantly what he had learnt. As Gates recalled, “She genuinely listened to what I had to say.

Good teachers are APPROACHABLE and SHOW THEIR PRIDE IN YOU. They create a place where each learner operates on a sense of belonging. They don’t stick to tried and tested approaches – they mix things, and take them up a notch every time.

Les Brown is one of the world’s foremost motivational speakers and thought leader on target-setting and persistent efforts towards self-improvement. However, it was not always so for him. He has known struggle and hardship for most of his life. He was a struggling student, and was labelled ‘educable mentally handicapped ‘. One day his teacher asked him to go to the chalkboard and solve a problem. Les was reluctant and said “I can’t, I am educable mentally handicapped.  “The class erupted in laughter. At this point, the teacher stepped out from behind his desk, and looked Les straight in the eye. “Don’t ever say that again, “he told him firmly. “ Someone else’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” Les never forgot those words, and spent the rest of his life overcoming incredible odds, and pursued his goals with passion and fervour. Because of that one teacher’s powerful revelation, Les has lived the phrase he is famous for all over the world: You have greatness within you.

Great teachers ENCOURAGE, and then stand like a solid rock behind. Teachers are not just individuals who instruct us, they INSPIRE and BELIEVE IN US as well. Also they often teach us lessons that cannot be found in our textbooks.

A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard. They have EMPATHY. A master can tell you, what he expects of you. A teacher though awakens your own inner senses. As Dan Rather says, “A dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.”

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