I vividly remember sitting in high school chemistry class. (Not your favorite subject? Well, it was mine.) Mrs. Kraus, a new teacher to our district in the early 90s, sparked something within me. She challenged me and allowed me to take on the role of good student. (Not that I wasn’t a good student before, but that was the first time that I was encouraged to move to the head of the class.)
In turned, I loved chemistry. I put in the work too; I did all that was required of me and then some. Would the subject of chemistry have been as interesting to me had the instructor been just average? We will never know, but I can tell you with certainty that Mrs. Kraus made chemistry come alive for me.
Guess what? Mrs. Kraus was actually a chemist! Teaching was her second career. She had first worked in the field as a chemist; she once shared with us that she was one the team that developed clear detergent. Cool, right? Well, I thought so. I can remember thinking, “Wow, you can actually get a job doing chemistry. How awesome is that?”
RULE #1: Teachers are REAL people. Let your students know that you have a life outside of the classroom and that you are invested in your subject matter.
Lucky for me, Mrs. Kraus wasn’t the only “great” teacher that I had during my education. However, she was one of only a few who really kicked my butt into a higher gear. So, how did she do it? Could her actions be accounted for and replicated for students of every background and educational goal?
Well, I think so. Since starting my career in education in 2000, I have had the opportunity to work with some extremely talented people, who make a difference every day. Through my observations over the years, I have learned that no one starts out as an amazing teacher.
Phew, right? Do you know what this means? There’s still time for you! 🙂 Not that you aren’t already a good teacher, but you, too, can be amazing at your craft. This is what I want to share with you. Over time, it is my hope that I can inspire you and provide you with some guidance to help you achieve the “great” teacher status.
Start with today. Today: BE REAL. You are not only a great teacher because you understand the ins and outs of your curriculum. You are great, because: You are you!
Share your real life experience with your subject matter with your students. Give them a reason to want to learn it. Make it applicable. Stuck for ideas about how to do that? Post your lesson troubles here, and I will brainstorm ideas with you.