What Makes a Great Teacher? Part 1

The 89th Annual American Education Week-Nov. 14-20, presents all Americans with an opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring every child receives a quality education.

My Mom- The TeacherMy mother has always been a source of inspiration and I credit her for my interest and passion for quality education in America’s schools. I can’t think of a better way to honor educators than to highlight my mother’s own contribution to public education. She has taught in the Virginia Public school system for 29 years.

Recently I asked her about life as an educator. I wanted to find out what makes a great teacher? Here’s what she had to say:

What is the single most important factor in determining a students success?

I know that you are not going to like this answer, but it is the parents.  Students that come from homes where education is a top priority always find success. Students that come from poverty where education takes the backseat are rarely successful.

How can students do their best in school?

They must take responsibility for their actions.

Do schools today work well? Are there changes needed?

Schools do not work well.  The schools today are a reflection of a deteriorating society.  Morals are no longer a top priority in families.  Also, we have parents that don’t have time to teach their own children because they are working longer hours to provide ‘materials’  to their children.  I don’t think we can fix our schools until we fix the family unit.

How do you measure an effective teacher?

This one is easy!!!  An effective teacher keeps the students actively engaged.

How do you measure an effective student?

One who is willing to learn and questions everything.

What makes a great teacher?

One that treats students with respect, holds them to high standards, does not accept excuses and makes failure not an option. A great teacher teaches students and not subjects.  They work longer hours and are always thinking of new ways to actively engage students.  The difficult part is teaching students to think and become life long learners.

Over the next few days I have more interviews from friends who are teachers throughout Virginia.

Tomorrow, I will share some updated information on the No Child Left Behind Act and the education progress that America’s leaders are working towards.

Do you know a teacher that deserves to be recognized? Be sure to say, “thank you” this week!

Posts in this series:

American Education Week


Mike Toner

Based in Alexandria, Virginia Michael is the Manager of Social Media at Navy Federal Credit Union. By evening, he's a husband, dog owner and runner. Toner writes about social media strategy, tools, training and best practices for social and digital marketing programs.


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American Education Week

Next Monday marks, the 89th annual American Education Week, November 14–20. I am not a professional educator, nor do I...