How to be an Awesome Teacher

I think every teacher could be a little more like Mrs. Daily. She is an awesome individual. She happened to teach the subject I liked the least (high school math), yet she will always be one of my favorite teachers. She always made time to help me with questions I didn’t understand and nudged me towards success. What made Mrs. Daily so awesome? After a College Algebra exam I didn’t do so well on my senior year, she went through every single problem with me until I understood each one, which literally took hours. Like I said, she is awesome.

Who doesn’t like being awesome?  Awesome people just have “it” and people who want to be awesome try to get “it”.  But what exactly is the “it” that awesome people like Mrs. Daily have?

I stumbled upon this great article by Chris Guillebeau about how to be awesome.  While it applies to anyone, I’ve taken a few of his main points and tweaked them to fit the life of a teacher.

Be comfortable with the idea of being awesome. Have the attitude.  This is where it all begins.  Whether you’re a first year teacher or a seasoned veteran, know and believe that you have the ability to be awesome!  Love what you teach, teach what you love, and it will show through your work (and hopefully, rub off a little on your students).

Hard work. There is no way around it, but awesome people put in a lot of work.  If you’re passionate about what you do, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.  Make sure your lessons are well planned. Really teach during class time, don’t just ramble off some notes.  Get to know your students and be aware of what they need help with.  Be open to those students that need assistance and really help them learn.

Over deliver in your personal relationships. From my experience, many teachers are, in general, giving people.  Chris talks about “never making excuses about being too busy” or not having enough time for others.  If you take this approach with your students, you’re already awesome in my book.  Did you ever have your own Mrs. Daily? Of course you remember her (or him) because whether or not you thought about it at the time, they were awesome and you really appreciated the time they spent helping you learn.

Reward the behavior of other awesome people (and don’t reward mediocrity). This has to be my favorite lesson.  Encouraging students to go above and beyond in their studies (at any level) will only push them to go farther.  This will help them not only throughout your class, but in their lives.

What other qualities do you think it takes to be an awesome teacher? Share with us in the comments.

To learn more about Chris or read about his unconventional strategies for life, work, and travel, check out his website. Fabulous image from Paul Thurlby.

Like this post? Add us to your RSS feed!