Read these essays that our students have written and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what makes a great teacher.
Our students say…
• A great teacher “has a positive attitude, a smile on her face and an encouraging word for her students” and explains “the material so that all students can understand.”
And I agree. I’ve visited classrooms across our district and been impressed by how hard our teachers work to make sure all children understand. I’m also impressed with our teachers’ eagerness to take courses to find new ways to reach students, with the hours they spend preparing, with their willingness to share with each other and learn from each other. One student really described what I’ve seen in so many of our classrooms when she wrote, my teacher “loves to use multiple learning styles to help educate her students.”
• A great teacher is patient. I watch our teachers explain concepts over and over and over ...view middle of the document...
As one student writes, “I realized how strict she was going to be. The funny thing is it is her strictness that I grew to love and the reason she is my favorite teacher.”
• A great teacher believes in students. As one student writes, great teachers believe “every child can accomplish anything we set our minds on and she makes us believe it too! She’s helped me believe I am special and will make a difference in my lifetime.”
• A great teacher pushes students to succeed. One student says her teacher, “Even when my best is not good enough, she still wants me to try.” Another student wrote, “She motivates her students to chase their dreams and to always put their best foot forward.” I always liked teachers like that, worked harder for teachers like that, learned more from teachers like that.
• A great teacher “helps us learn in creative ways.” One of my favorite stories from these essays says this: My teacher “sometimes does cool things to make math lessons a lot easier. One time, she had us to draw half of a person’s face to learn about symmetry. It was really hard, but lots of fun.”
• And, most of all, great teachers care. One student described her teacher as someone who “he does truly care about his students. When I had started a rock collection, he said that if I had any questions, I could come to him for help. That showed me that he truly cared for his students, taking time out of his day to help me.” These students write that their teachers helped make them “become a confident person and a stronger person” and “teaches us how to become leaders and how to work as a team.” Students love teachers who smile and make them laugh and make them feel comfortable in class, who know how to talk to students in a way that connects.
As you read the winning entries in this year’s My Favorite Teacher Art and Essay Contest, you’ll see these traits repeated over and over.
And as you read them, you’ll see that teachers make such a difference.
Thank you, The Lancaster News and other businesses whose support made this contest possible.
And thank you to the thousands of parents and students who take the time to say special thank yous to teachers across our district this week.