Latest posts by Eric Burdon (see all)
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What qualities make a great teacher? I recently had a discussion with someone on twitter about teachers and mentor-ship. We shared a few ideas and it really got me thinking about some of the teachers that I’ve had in my life. In some situations I have been with teachers or mentors I’d say that weren’t the greatest. However I have been with some that have altered my thinking both directly and indirectly. Today I’d like to talk about three killer qualities that my good teachers showed me.
Teachers look out for you
This is by far one of the most important ones on my list I want to share. All of them are really, but this one was and is prominent in my life. A teacher is someone who is looking out for you. Not necessarily putting their own thoughts in your head but they’re that extra push you need. Whether it’s uncertainty or hesitation, a killer quality is identifying that and encouraging the person.
Seven years ago I had terrible speaking skills and I made the bold decision to travel across Canada through a program called Katimavik. In there I had a leader, or a teacher, who would often ask me questions or offer suggestions to help me mingle a little. That leader helped me tremendously in getting myself out there ever so slightly.
Teachers aspire you to do better
Another quality is they aspire you to do better. To work on improving yourself and to not give up so easily. This can either be directly or indirectly as well.
My current mentor in my life, Nyla Nugent, is that teacher for me. Whenever we talk I’m very inspired and I push myself farther. Not only that but I’d even go a step farther and say she’s getting me think more critically about my work. Not discouraging myself, but I can tell that some of my rational doesn’t make sense or that I’m doing something wrong that I can build on.
Teachers move you to the next level
I believe in the saying that the pupil will outperform the master eventually and for a lot of people that can be troublesome. Some people want to continue teaching people. Especially when it’s their primary source of income.
However the thing with teaching we all must realize is eventually people will learn all they need from you and move on. Not every teacher has all the answers.
What I’m getting at is a teacher will push you so far, but also they won’t be upset once you surpass them. A true teacher would point at their student and say “I taught them.” In other words a teacher is humble and isn’t looking to hold their students back to line their pockets. They strive to provide quality.
There are many people who strive to be teachers but many lack these qualities. I’ve had my own experiences of terrible mentors but the good ones pushed me forward. I continue to push myself today thanks to my teachers.
Eric S Burdon