Throughout my career as an educator, I have been blessed to work alongside some exceptional teachers. These teachers have made a very profound impact on my teaching by motivating and inspiring me to set and reach my professional goals. I have often thought of the traits these educators each possess and what it is that makes each of them successful and motivating inside the classroom and inspiring to the teachers that work alongside them.
Each of these extraordinary teachers has a true passion for teaching. This passion is evident daily and their enthusiasm for children is often contagious. These teachers firmly believe that what they are doing will make a difference in a child’s life. They each have moved beyond the goal of making a difference within one child, to making a difference in many.
These teachers often take on the role of the advocate. Their impact on children can often be seen outside the classroom and on a broader level. It is their willingness to be an advocate for children on educational issues and beyond that is commendable. They are not afraid to go against popular opinion if it is in the best interest of the child. Often times this advocacy leads to improving lives of the children they teach and the families they serve.
Successful and highly effective teachers are always evaluating their practices and constantly working to improve their effectiveness inside the classroom. They set realistic and obtainable goals and they continually monitor and evaluate their progress. They understand that they are as much a “learner” inside their own classroom as the children they teach. They understand that a teacher is a learner for life and they continually work to improve their craft through book studies, staff development, collaborative teaching, goal setting and self-evaluation. They understand that collaborative teaching brings forth the strengths of many teachers and ultimately they believe teachers working with teachers collaboratively, makes a critical impact within their own classrooms. These teachers exhibit a love of learning that is evident to the children they teach and to their colleagues. Additionally, they are not afraid to take risks and try new things and are open to new ideas and new ways of teaching. It is evident that this type of educator is not afraid to try and fail. Fundamentally they believe that a failure provides new opportunities for future successes. They understand that teaching the exact same lesson year after year will not reach the diverse needs of the ever changing population in our classrooms.
Above and beyond all, an extraordinary teacher has the unique ability to identify, appreciate and value the unique diversity that makes up his or her classroom. An exceptional teacher understands that before formal education begins, a community of learners must be established. They have the unique ability to build a community of learners naturally, while holding high expectations for all. These educators project a climate of mutual respect and an infectious love of learning. Furthermore, they create an environment that promotes the belief that we all learn from each other and that our own lives can be positively impacted through our interactions with each other. This belief promotes and creates a respectful and nourishing environment where all who enter can flourish and grow.
As I continue to evaluate my role as an Early Childhood Educator and strive to reach my professional goals, I will look to these extraordinary teachers for mentorship, support and inspiration. For they are the ones that continually ignite the fire and passion I have for teaching. And that passion and fire will burn within me forever.
I recently was asked to reflect on my teaching career and write about the traits of a successful teacher. The truth is that I am always surrounded by sucessful teachers, so the task was not that hard. Blogging has widened my surroundings... and I never have to turn far to find a successful teacher to look towards for inspiration, motivation and direction. Blogging has brought us all together and the difference is seen in each of us and we bring forth the best of us all into our classrooms day in and day out. I am so thankful to be a part of a community that celebrates that.