Thursday, May 10, 2012

Good vs. Great?

This is a "help me!" post. I am currently away chaperoning Grade 8 kiddies in Prague during our annual school-wide trip week, so there's not much to report in the teaching department.  But, something has been on my mind and so I am posing it here to see what you think and whether you can point me at specific resources in your links archive...

What makes someone a good teacher, and what makes someone a great teacher?

I am looking for articles or videos or other resources to help me inspire teachers who have already been teaching for more than 10 years. Thanks!!!

Addendum May 12, 2012: Here is a nice little link. The best part is the first paragraph, which is written by Thomas Cronin in The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching (1992).

Great teachers give us a sense not only of who they are, but more important, of who we are, and who we might become. They unlock our energies, our imaginations, and our minds. Effective teachers pose compelling questions, explain options, teach us to reason, suggest possible directions, and urge us on. The best teachers, like the best leaders, have an uncanny ability to step outside themselves and become liberating forces in our lives.

Great teachers know that they are always on stage and that who they are, how they act, and what they believe are as important as what they teach. 


  1. I just finished the book "What Great Teachers Do Differently" by Todd Whitaker. It gives 17 concrete actions that separate effective teachers from the rest. I think it would be a great starting point for a discussion like this. I hope you enjoy your time in Prague!

  2. I struggle with this frequently. My colleagues say that I'm a great teacher, but I don't buy it.
    I still have tons of problems with planning, student interactions, student learning. Maybe a great teacher is one that is one who continually strives to be better, as opposed to one who has settled for their current level.

    In any case, What Great Teachers do Differently by Todd Whittaker is one of my current favorites. I'm hoping my principal will use it for a book study next year with our faculty.

    You can watch short clips of him on YouTube, and I've also found them very insightful as well.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation! I will definitely add the Whittaker book to my Kindle queue. I am finishing up a book on creativity and starting another one soon on leadership... I've got a lot of exciting readings ahead of me! :) :)

  4. Don't forget to use your own students, Mimi, to ask this question. They've been through a lot of teachers, they should know and will be honest.