Is perfection your goal as an educator? Most of us strive to be the best we can be. It is hard to truly reach perfection, but it is certainly an admirable goal. Whether you consider yourself a great teacher or not, you may recognize these characteristics associated with educational “perfection.”
Great teachers view their work from a professional paradigm. They consider their role the highest calling. They are constantly seeking to grow in their pedagogical knowledge.
Have you ever met a great teacher who was not effusive about teaching? They bring their students to life because they want nothing more than to share the joy of learning. You’ll know you’ve met this teacher when you leave their classroom feeling more energized than when you entered.
Teaching without reflection is like eating without tasting. You get the calories, but none of the joy. Reflective teachers never say, “That was a great lesson!” They immediately know that even the best lesson needs tweaking. More importantly, they know that students are a variable in every lesson and how they respond is more important than the content covered.
Teachers who are flexible are never thrown off their “game” by the unsettled nature of education. Flexible teachers allow for teachable moments and going off script. Students need flexible teachers because they provide stability.
Great teachers take responsibility for their education. They seek advanced degrees, attend conferences, and read everything they can get their hands on. They stay ahead of the rapid changes occurring in their profession. They are never caught off guard by the educational pendulum.
Teaching requires creativity today more than ever. Great teachers are either highly creative or they know how to “borrow” ideas. They use their resources and colleagues to create engaging lessons. Creative teachers consistently ask themselves how to make their teaching fun!
The use of technology in teaching has become an assumption. Administrators who observe teachers expect to see technology used to support instruction. Teachers who use technology effectively use the SAMR model when planning lessons.
The best teachers are the most innovative. Innovative teachers are better able to reach all of their learners. When an innovative teacher hits a roadblock she immediately goes into problem solving mode.
Yes, great teachers are also oppositional. They are confident enough to question their own teaching as well as the beliefs of others, including their supervisors. They place student learning first. This makes them comfortable when questioning the “why” behind what they are asked to do. They are not “Debbie Downers,” but they are unafraid when the needs of their students are at stake.
Great teachers are networked within and outside of their classroom walls. They form PLCs with the teachers in their buildings and PLNs with those around the world. The best teachers are incredibly humble and recognize how much they can learn from their colleagues.
The “perfection” described above is achievable by any teacher who wants to be great at what they do. The pursuit of lifelong learning is really perfection itself. Standing still is never tenable. By seeking perfection you are always moving forward. It is that pursuit that makes teaching a profession and and a wonderful journey.