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What Makes a Great Teacher?

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Who was your favorite teacher when you were little? Most likely, it was one that helped you succeed the most.

In fifth grade, my teacher told me that I need to challenge myself more. I always loved that she made me feel like I was an adult, instead of just a student. The mistakes I made were shown in red ink. They were fewer than I had expected. I was surprised to see an A on the rubric and a note that said “Great job! I always love your poetry, but we need to find a way to challenge you.” She soon began to realize that math and English were my strengths, so she gave me worksheets to do, making me better, stronger. She was always super supportive of my education and made sure that I was having difficulty, but only enough to make me more proud of the A that I got at the end of the year. I was always a good leader, so she did group work to help support that. Despite the fact that I had more work than other students, I still found myself getting ahead of them. She always helped me to challenge myself. Mrs. Falkowski is the image I see as a great teacher.

Across the nation, the graduation rate is only 70%. Why is that? Could that have anything to do with the teachers, or is it just the students who don’t care?

Another great example of a teacher was Mr. Krohnfeldt. He was always making sure the students were engaged in the activity. He was endlessly working with the students, making sure that they understood, or seeing if they need explanation. Although he was only a student teacher, he was at school every day, getting to know the students’ concerns and interests. As a student, I learned about his family, and his past jobs, making me know him more as a person, not just as a teacher.

In third grade, I also had a teacher who was able to make me want to challenge myself. She wanted me to do things like perfect my handwriting, voice—at least as well as a third grader can—and also my comprehension abilities.

I eventually found out that teachers appreciate it when the students like them. They appreciate it when students are respectful and caring. One teacher once told me that when I was President, he would be my driver. This made me like him more. It also showed me that students earn their teachers respect if the students can have respect for the teachers.

Teachers are the people that you will be with for almost six hours a day. Think back to that teacher you loved. Did he or she captivate you and help you want to learn? That is the kind of teacher that kids enjoy spending time with. Why do some students come home crying because of something a teacher said or did? Does that help or hurt their education?



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