Exceptional teaching is not something that just happens. In order to become a truly great teacher, an individual must be willing to put in the time and effort necessary. Good teachers are willing to continually improve their skills and advance their abilities. Every individual that has made their way through the public school system is likely to have a handful of names that they will recall the instant anyone asks them who their favorite teacher was. Teachers have the ability to make a profound difference in the lives of their students. The effect that a teacher can have on a student’s life will last well into adulthood.
Some teachers refer to the elements that make up effective educators as the 4P’s. The first of which is planning. There is no such thing as a teacher who is too prepared. This involves not only developing the curriculum that the teacher is going to present, but also being prepared for any disruptions or difficulties that will undoubtedly present themselves during the school year. In order to teach the material in a way that is going to resonate with students, a teacher must become comfortable with it and prepared to answer every question that students will ask.
The second P is persistence. Being a great teacher means that an individual cannot give up once things get difficult. The teachers that adults remember from their childhood are the ones that were willing to go the extra mile for their students. Along with persistence comes patience. Not every student learns at the same pace and in order to ensure that each student leaves with the necessary knowledge, a teacher must patiently tend to the needs of each student in his or her class. Simply relaying information out of the book is not enough to help students gain a real understanding of the material.
The last and possibly most important element is passion. A good teacher presents information in a way that is accessible to students, but a great teacher does it in a way that is exciting and engaging to the students. Students, regardless of their age, have no problem spotting the teachers that really care about what they are doing and the ones that are just showing up for a paycheck. Teaching successfully is just as much an art as it is a science, and memorable teachers have the passion that it takes to do the job in and day out.