OpinionPersonal experience

Great teachers

Ever since I started teaching, I have been thinking of those things that make a teacher good, and the ones that give a value added and make them great. Not that I look forward to being one by pushing myself to it, but then again, I would like to make a difference. And so, I have come to the conclusion the main differences between a good and a great teacher are not in knowledge or grades at university but in how the person connects and cares about their students.
A good teacher can have gotten the first place on their university degree and could have been outstanding students; they can even have all the knowledge and best classroom management in the world. Those traits make them good and really professional yet, they can seem distant and somehow students feel they are cold and, depending on the student, they may feel the teacher is good and admire them, but they can also feel the teacher doesn’t care about them. That, in the end, makes the whole difference.
A great teacher is not only good, well prepared for their job and effective in their classroom, but also close, friendly and engaged with their students, their welfare and even their families. I have to admit the teachers I remember and feel most fond of are the ones that showed love, care and were always smiling, as for example, my second grade teacher Mary Martha, who has been in touch with me over the years and nowadays is my friend. She was always smiling, happy and took time to comfort and encourage me when I felt sad or sick, and was always open to talk to my parents whenever they needed to.
Being a great teacher is all about being there to show interest and show we care about all aspects of our students lives; listening to them when possible and letting them know we are close and friendly. Counting on someone that can also give you guidance through your learning process with a good curriculum makes the difference between considering you a good teacher or remembering you as a great one.