Writings: Want to be a good teacher?


A friend of mine who is practicing to be a teacher asked me (since I’ve worked as a teacher for kind of a long time), “What makes someone a good teacher?”

I believe this: It’s luck. It’s timing. And it’s a belief in sharing and healing. Here’s why.

It’s luck. You have to have a situation, with a bunch of puzzle pieces still on the table: There have to be students. There has to be a certain atmosphere. There has to be a lesson plan, or an agreement not to have a lesson plan. Helps if there’s a need, on the side of the students.  Helps to have a teacher that people listen to. Helps to have something to share, that needs sharing, and that people want. It takes a bunch of things to make all this line up, and it helps if you’re lucky.

It’s timing. The lesson has to have a place to land, and maybe it’s ready, but the students aren’t. Maybe the kids are eager (like the birds above), but the teacher doesn’t have enough bugs for everyone. Maybe the class period is too short. Or too long. Or right after lunch, during naptime. Good timing takes practice, but watch for it & you’ll learn to orchestrate things so it happens more & more often.

And it’s all about sharing & healing. The important part of this, especially for new or young teachers, is getting it that sharing is a two way street. Naturally, we teachers have a lot to give & a desire to give, but it’s critical that we get back. That side of the sharing is harder to measure, impossible to be certain of, but essential to the dynamic. A huge part of learning is giving back to the teacher, and to the members of the class. Gotta happen, because we gotta learn.

And then amazing things happen.

Love you,

Brother Ian

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