Skip to main content

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.  

Popular posts from this blog

Ditch those Reading Logs: Try Flipgrid Instead

If you've read my posts or follow me on Twitter, you know how I feel about pointless projects and homework!  This year I made it official and ditched homework.  It's the best decision I've ever made as a teacher.  My students are loving it, I am loving it, and I think most of their parents are loving it! I have completely transformed the way I run my classroom and feel like my students are more engaged and excited than ever. 

Student Example (Click to watch)

Like homework, I never felt quite right about assigning reading logs.  Whenever my own kids had to read a book on their own for school, they were initially excited. First, they were told they had to read twenty minutes each night. Then the dreaded reading logs began.  They had to write  down what pages they read, as well as a summary.  Urgh! I can only imagine lying on the beach with my own book and having to complete a reading log.  No thanks!  And I am not going to lie. I just might have signed one of my son's read…

Have a Dance Party Before Class Starts

This year I decided to play music as students are entering my classroom and before the final bell rings.  I had no idea what a difference it would make!  Why didn't I do this before?  It creates a positive, upbeat mood and seems to energize my students and ME! 

At first I thought they'd complain when I blasted disco tunes by artists like Chic, The Bee Gees, and Vickie Sue Robinson ("Turn the Beat Around").   I thought they'd groan when I played Bon Jovi, Journey, and Whitesnake. I thought they'd roll their eyes when I played clean versions of songs by Tupac and Snoop Dogg.  I really thought they'd lose it when I played Gypsy Kings.  NOPE!  They loved it!  I had NO idea that my kids would react they way they did.  Here are the results:

If I don't have time to put the music on, several kids will ask, "Where's our dance party?" I really like Pandora because I can create my own stations.  If you're looking for a way to create a positive vi…

Creating a Cell Phone Sanctuary

Over the past few years, I have noticed a change in my students.  Not only are they tethered to their phones, but they are more anxious than ever.  In the past two school years, I have had at least three students experience school anxiety so severe that they could not come to school.   Those are just MY students.  This year I have had one student leave our school after her mother spent three weeks trying to drag her to class each morning as her daughter screamed, cried, and sometimes refused to get out of the car.  According to an article titled "Teen Anxiety and Depression: the Kids are not Alright" published in 2016, "In 2015, about 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2 million report experiencing depression that impairs their daily function. About 30% of girls and 20% of boys–totaling 6.3 million teens–have had an anxiety disorder, according t…