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The One Thing All Great Teachers Do

What makes a great teacher?

While reading this, we’re sure that there’s at least one great teacher from your own school days who popped into your head. What made them so much better than your other school teachers? What made them and their lessons so special?

In his talk, Dr Nick Fuhrman (also known as Ranger Nick) encourages us to recognise the profound personal impact that we can have on others – both in and out of the classroom. Dr Fuhrman experienced this himself when he was only a pre-schooler sitting on a carpet square, and a single 45-minute lesson from a great teacher changed his life forever.

Watch his talk now:

Here is the one thing all great teachers do:

Celebrate mistakes

When there’s an error in the classroom (made by yourself or a student), you have the opportunity to capitalise on the mistake. Bob Ross, the famous artist, calls them “happy little accidents”. In the education world, we call them “teachable moments”. Use the mistake as a teachable moment.

Appreciate differences

Difference and diversity should be a strength in the classroom. The differences that students have mean that they bring different perspectives, ideas, and experience levels into the classroom that others (including yourself) can learn from.

Relay feedback

For students, parents, and teachers alike, success is measured on having a low number of wrong answers. It’s easy to focus on what we did wrong, and because we want our students to improve, we go back and focus on those wrong answers to help them – just don’t forget to relay positive feedback as well. Receiving praise where it’s due really motivates students to do better and keep up the good work.

Evaluate themselves

Great teachers know how to take a step back and look at themselves, their students, the environment as a whole and ask themselves, “Is this working?”. Look at what your students are telling you with their facial expressions, their body language, their performance in the classroom. Are they thriving in this environment? You must be willing to adapt your teaching strategy.

The one thing that all great teachers genuinely do is care. They care for their students. Dr Fuhrman ends off his talk with this quote from Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

And that makes all the difference.

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