What makes a Great Teacher

It’s not often enough community partners are afforded opportunities to show appreciation to leaders who may have the most selfless, thankless positions our country has to offer.

But with Teacher Appreciation Week last week, the Edna Martin Christian Center and our families were able to do just that for one neighborhood school working to regain and sustain a culture of excellence.

To close out the week, on Friday, the staff and educators at Indianapolis Public Schools Anna Brochhausen 88 were treated to a Center sponsored luncheon, where we not only due gratitude for dedication, but affirmation their effort mean so much more to us that standardized test scores or high stakes evaluations (though for the record 88 does outperform the district and other surrounding neighborhoods schools in terms of several key indicators, including standardized testing.) The Eastside Indianapolis based public schools serves a majority African-American and low income student population, while adhering to the mantra that success is the only option.

Led by a dynamic school leader and longtime community schools partner in Principal Carmen Sharp, the secret sauce that drives these great educators is no secret at all. Rooted in passion, dedication and adherence to the implementation and execution of rigorous, evidence based approaches, no one knows the traits required to thrive as teachers better than the educators themselves. To that, I thought it best to just ask as part of this recognition what makes them great. Their answers are below:

D. Baltzell - Dedication! A great teacher must be dedicated to his/her students, their learning, and their future!Enthusiastic! A great teacher must be enthusiastic about learning!  Learning new things and making connections with his/her kids.

S. Webster (Parent Involvement Educator)  - A great teacher is a lifelong learner. They want to impart what they know into the lives of children. They are dedicated to their work. No obstacle is too big that they can't maneuver around. A great teacher has a heart that wants all children to learn and will find ways to make that happen. 

K. Prince - Something that makes a good teacher would be someone who is dedicated to their work.  Someone who puts in their time to help students achieve.  It is someone who is given a challenging student is able to help that student.  It is someone who gives 110% into their work.  A great teacher works hard and cares about their students.  

C. Nichols - A great teacher…Cares about his/her students and never gives up on them no matter how tough and challenging they may be. Holds students accountable and pushes each one to do their own personal best. Sees the light in every child.

M. Evans - A good teacher is passionate about education and the important role in plays in a child's future. They persevere through difficult days to give their students what they need. They provide compassion and guidance for their students to grow academically and emotionally. And most of all they are fun because they love what they do. :) 

C. Risper - A good teacher is one who imparts content knowledge to his or her students. A great teacher is an advocate for their learners. A great teacher recognizes that each child is an individual that needs to be honored and allowed to have a say in their own learning journey. A great teacher will not only use the resources that are available in their school building, but they also go beyond those walls to bring relevant and tangible learning experiences to each learner.

L. Trostle- As a teacher, if I'm not grateful for what I get to do, I have no business being in this field. As a teacher, if I am great, I inspire students. I connect them to what is great within and all around them.  As a great teacher, I never consider my students a nuisance and I treat them with respect. As a great teacher, I am firm, consistent, and respectful. Last, but not least, as a great teacher, I am patient... with myself, my students, and my colleagues.  Together, we can make learning great.... meaningful and successful.

J. Burkman - For a good teacher, it is not about them, but about the student.  You need to remember to not take things personal, for their minds are not thinking like yours.  They do not always mean what comes out of their mouths and they will not always smile at you and agree with what you have to say. You want to be an instructor for your students.  You want to be a supporter for your students.  You want to be a mentor for your students.  You want to be a CHAMPION for your students!

M. Johnson - A great teacher respects students. In a great teacher’s classroom, each person’s ideas and opinions are valued. Students feel safe to express their feelings and learn to respect and listen to others. This teacher creates a welcoming learning environment for all students. A great teacher is warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. This person is approachable, not only to students, but to everyone on campus. This is the teacher to whom students know they can go with any problems or concerns or even to share a funny story. Great teachers possess good listening skills and take time out of their way-too-busy schedules for anyone who needs them.

A great teacher sets high expectations for all students. This teacher realizes that the expectations she has for her students greatly affect their achievement; she knows that students generally give to teachers as much or as little as is expected of them.

D. Witte – A great teacher has the following attributes -  Patience, Heart, Patience, Love, Patience, Hard work, Patience, Multitasking, Patience, finding another way to present, Patience