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What is a "good" teacher?

I forgot my Paypal password last week.  While trying to reset it, I was asked the security question: "Who was your favorite teacher?" I typed in three different names and none were right!  Favorite teacher?  How could I have picked just one?  It could have been any of the following:

Mrs. Whitlock-My third-grade teacher at La Paloma Elementary.  I idolized this woman.  She was "groovy".  Not only did I master my times tables like a boss, she let us listen to Led Zeppelin on rainy days and keep a pet spider in the terrarium.

Mr. Sherman-My fourth and fifth-grade teacher at La Paloma Elementary.  This was my first male teacher.  He was hilarious, loved sports, and loved teaching.  He brought in a Pong table so that we could have a Pong tournament before the holidays.  

Mrs. McKee-My seventh-grade English teacher at Valley Middle School.  This woman was like my second grandmother.  She was so kind and nurturing.  I had to move mid-year due to my parent's divorce.  I will never forget her words to me when I asked her to sign my check out sheet.  She said, "I am going to miss you."  I'll never forget those words, and I have never forgotten her.

Mrs. Miller-My eighth-grade English teacher at Potter Junior High.  She was funny, kind, beautiful, and made me love reading The Good Earth. She seemed to know I was going through a tough time and took a genuine interest in me as a person.

Mr. Fogarty-My twelfth-grade government teacher.  He was kind, patient, and caring.  In June, he asked me where I was going to college.  I told I wasn't going at all.  He looked at me in horror and said, "You are too smart not to go to college." He then went on to tell me about community college.  If not for him, I may not have become a teacher.  

Mr. Raymond-My twelfth-grade English teacher.  He was a maverick, a rebel, a genius.  He talked about topics no other teacher talked about.  He taught us to be ourselves. He made me love diagramming sentences!  

There are actually countless other teachers I could include in this list.  I didn't even get to my college instructors!  But back to the title of this post-"What is a good teacher?"  I loved all of the above teachers for a variety of reasons.  Yet, here is a list of what they all had in common:

1) They cared
2) They were passionate about teaching
3) They loved their students
4) They connected to their students

Thank you to all of my wonderful teachers and mentors.  

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