Prompt: What makes a teacher great?
A teacher can make all the difference in the life of a child, for example if they have the ability and insight to see the potential in a child, who perhaps is sitting in her seat quietly who is shy, or perhaps the one who is outspoken and sometimes disturbs the class.
The child who is shy might not hold up her hand to answer a question that is asked, because of the fear she may be wrong, and be laughed at, or that others may feel she’s not very smart. She may, on the other hand think that the teacher would never pick her and so feel a sense of rejection.
The outspoken or disruptive child on the other hand, may need some firm but still caring attention in order to be able to have them actually ‘listen’ and hopefully learn.
What the teacher must not do, in my opinion is to dismiss either ‘type’ of personality or ignore the possibility of reaching and bringing out the best in them. Some teachers, although they are very knowledgeable can, if they’re not careful squelch the ability and confidence of a child. They maybe have their favourite students, and it may be very obvious to all the rest of the class.
‘I’ was that shy child and I remember the number of times when I hoped so much that the teacher would pick me for special tasks, like helping her clean up the classroom and believe it or not, back ‘then’ which was a long time ago one of those jobs entailed cleaning the brushes and blackboards. I also recall many times holding up my hand in class, but not being chosen to answer the question that the teacher was asking. It always seemed to be the same ones she/he picked all the time.
Having said that, there were times that some teachers were kind. I remember one year, it was actually the principal that chose me, to ring the bell at the beginning of the day, and at recesses. I also remember that one Christmas when I went back to school with some new clothes she said how really nice I looked. She made a difference in how I felt about myself.
There is one more thing that I think a teacher can do, and that is to watch for the child who is being bullied or abused. I think there are signs that they can watch for.
While it’s not a teacher’s responsibility to do a parent’s job, children spend a good part of their life in school, and in essence what I feel a teacher can do for a child; is to give them confidence and self-assurance that they are important and they ‘can’ learn. That’s what makes a teacher ‘great’.