The Daily Prompt asks “What makes a great teacher? Show us greatness!” http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/daily-prompt-greatness/
Good question! What are the requirements of a great teacher? Sure, there are societal standards and guidelines which mark the requirements of what is expected of a teacher, to be the best they can be. But when I look back over life, I realize that teachers, great teachers, don’t necessarily happen inside them classroom. They are also in the world, and we happen to be lucky enough to catch one of their great ideas as they fly by.
My first recollection of a great teacher was Ms. Brown, my first grade teacher. She was the best and I loved her immensely. Growing up in the 60’s, when hate and racism was prime for the picking, I was one of the lucky one’s who appreciated good people, regardless of color. I figure that being in her classroom, at that particular time in society, being with this beautiful lady I thought so much of, who taught me more about the honesty and goodness of people rather than the color of their skin was one of the lifetime lessons I carried away from her. A great teacher, not for what I can’t remember learning in her classroom but what I learned for having the honor of interacting with her for a whole year. She was great.
There was another teacher in college, I can’t remember her name, but I consider her pretty great also. She did her own thing, literally. Her dress, her actions, her attitude, her very communication was all her. For a southern girl, it was extremely refreshing to interact with someone totally out of the norm of what I’d been used to and see someone really ‘be’ who she ‘was.’ Mind you, I worked my tail off in her class but I learned more about life by studying her than anything that I could have learned with what she taught. She was my definition of a free spirit, one who was truly comfortable inside of her own skin. I credit this lady for introducing me to the thoughts of changing and/or questioning all I had been “taught” and initiating the beginning of my own question to figure out what makes people tick and why they tick the way they do. Another semester with more learning than I bargained for and yes, she was great, also.
I had another college instructor who went just a bit further and took me under his wing, per se, to give me more insight on how other people live and interact, something completely different than how I was trained from birth. It was amazing. I learned just how nice the world could be, how people could accept you without any qualms about your past upbringing, show you there is a whole big world out there besides the southern Eastern Shore. He was a great teacher, this fella that took me outside the norm and showed me the world. To this day, I am still appreciative of him for opening up the world for me.
But there is one more teacher that is great and that is friends. Not all friends, but there are some that see things a little differently and act in the most compassionate ways possible. These people are the glue that holds all you’ve been taught with what you now know and gives you the insight to see that you can still get along in the world with your old knowledge by using the new knowledge also. These friends are the greatest and we are lucky to have them around and call them friends.
In our throwaway world, it’s nice to not throw it all away but to be able to use the knowledge gifted to us by our great teachers.