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What makes a "good teacher"

February 23, 2016

What makes a “good” teacher? Is it respect? Authority? Leadership? Management? Discipline? Routine? Knowledge and intelligence or creativity and lateral thinking?

Probably all of the above. Possibly none. Does it matter?


What about a teacher’s ability to relate and connect, enthusiasm, passion, tolerance, compassion and empathy? Are these qualities as equally important in a teacher as the former traits?


Without getting into the issue of school grading and serious words like module, curriculum and standards, how do we measure success, achievement, and results, and more to the point- why?


I have pondered these two seemingly unsolvable questions over and over. What makes a good teacher? And how/why we measure success? Am I these things as a teacher? Am I educated, intelligible, wise, and a leader. And the answer may be yes to some and no to others who may question ones’ credentials or accomplishments. We all do it all the time.


However, I seemingly always come back to square one. But it’s a good square. And it’s not really a square at all. More of an edgeless circle. A circle with no bounds, no ties, restrictions or limitations. No judgment. An ‘open circle’, warm and welcoming, inviting new life, new directions of growth, potential, hope, and promise.


It’s a circle of teaching. A circle of students who come to feel comfortable in their own skin. Full of life, wonder, curiosity and anticipation of what it is they will learn on this day. A group, a team, a family, willing to accept anyone from anywhere and from any background.


It’s this circle of friendship, experience, aspiration that allows us to embark on this safe journey as a class. Crawling, walking, climbing with one another to


heights. Learning together and feeling what others in the circle are feeling. An ongoing journey where no one is left behind. Only past nerves, trials, worries, and fears.


Together we learn, together we play, together we laugh, together we cry… mostly from the laughter, and together we grow. As a class. In this circle.



That, my friend, is success. That’s what makes a “good” teacher.

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