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What Makes a Great Teacher?

Updated on October 3, 2010

                                              What Makes A Great Teacher?

There are many different types of teachers: from preschool teachers to college professors, Sunday School teachers, tutors, pastors/ministers, child care center teachers to name a few. Whatever type of teachers they may be, they all affect our lives. They teach and mold us and sometimes, they make a great impact on people which can either "make or break" a person's career.

We've all had teachers in our lives whom we have identified with and will never, ever forget. But what makes a good teacher? Is it their knowledge? Is it their teaching style? Are they caring enough? Or probably, it depends on our own personalities and who we mesh with?

As a preschool assistant teacher, I find that there are children who gravitate towards me more than others while some gravitate more towards the other teachers. They want to hold my hand, give me hugs, ask me to sit beside them, read them stories, tell me about their new toy, some like to get my attention or praise and sometimes, do something "naughty" just to get my attention. I love what I do and I feel honored when the children like being with me or show me some affection. But just what is it that they find so amusing about a particular teacher? I guess it's kind of like your friends or even family members, for that matter. There are some whom we get along better while we keep a distance from others. There are some, no matter what we do, we still cannot find ourselves being "best of friends" with. Sometimes, being in the same room with that person can be very challenging.

Moreover, there are different teacher personalities: some are friendly while others are strict disciplinarians, some are humorous while others are very serious, some are caring and nurturing while others are a little bit detached. Depending on the personality of the student, they will gravitate to the one whom they feel more comfortable with. We all know that being a teacher can be very rewarding and yet very challenging at the same time. No matter which level one teaches, there will always be challenges that a person faces. They might differ from one level to the next, but one is not better than the other. They all have varying degrees and different sets of challenges.

In my own opinion, being a great teacher is a very complicated one. It depends on one's personal experience, educational background and even the love of their profession. It is sad to say that, not all teachers love what they do. There are teachers out there who treat their profession just like any other job. They teach for the day and they are out of there-that's all…they've earned their "pennies." They don't care whether the students pass or not, just as long as they teach what they are supposed to and meet the criteria or deadlines, prepare the students for Standard Testing and that's it. However, there are still many teachers out there who do their best working with their students. In all fairness, teachers have many standards to meet and many times, they do not have enough time on their hands to do everything that they need to, go over a difficult lesson or have that one-on-one relationship with a student when there are 30 to 35 students in a classroom. Most teachers do care about their students' grades and how well they are doing. They all have their own teaching styles and experiences that make them unique. They work extremely hard to teach their students, mold them and hoping that someday, their work will have a positive impact on their students' lives and careers.

So, what makes a good teacher? There is no "single" answer to this, but one thing I know is that when a teacher does everything in his/her power to teach well, mold and motivate a young person and most important of all is when they love what they do. The students can feel when a teacher genuinely loves their profession or they are just there to "teach." I do respect teachers of all levels and the hard work that they put in everyday. From the bottom of my heart, I thank and admire all of the dedicated teachers who try to do their very best to contribute to the success and better future of their students.


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    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 3 years ago from Castaic

      Hi DREAM ON!

      Thank you very much for reading my article, "What Makes a Great Teacher!" Yes, I completely agree with you that those who choose educational field for their career is because they truly love teaching children and of course, knowledge has something to do with it, too:-). I appreciate all of your kind words! Thank you for visiting my hub. I apologize for the very late reply. I have not been on HubPages all that much lately. Take care. God bless!

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 3 years ago

      I have had my share of good and bad teachers.I honestly believe teachers teach because their love for children and knowledge.I enjoyed your hub and all your comments that go far beyond my learning skills. I appreciate all those who help others in ways we may not even know or understand.Thank you for being a teacher.

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 6 years ago from Castaic

      Hello Andrew,

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my hub. I definitely agree with you that the educational system is in lack of "great" teachers, who not only have outstanding knowledge and credentials, but teachers who truly care about their students' potentials, empathetically listen to their concerns and unconditionally respect them for who they are.

      There is an unquestionable need of a different educational system, one which would encourage teachers to become more encouraging and truly believing in their students' potentials other than just worrying if they are meeting the standards. Yes, we really need to raise a stronger voice to help the best teachers use their abilities and make a difference in students' lives.

      Thank you for bringing up your point of view as well as sharing your wisdom. It is greatly appreciated. Looking forward to reading your blog. God bless!

    • thesuccesszone profile image

      thesuccesszone 6 years ago from QLD, Australia


      I've read this hub with some interest, and pleasingly, this whole debate is becoming 'front of stage' with Bill Gates' recent speech.

      Also pleasingly, it is becoming much easier to describe an outstanding teacher. My two business partners and I have researched this very question for the last 10 years, and by the cognisance of students, outstanding teachers can be seen to have 5 key hallmarks:

      1. That the create a safe environment

      2. That they listen to students (using Otto Scharmer's listening styles, in empathic and emergent form)

      3. That they unconditionally accept and respect every student they have

      4. That they are encouraging and believe in the potential of every child

      5. That they have outstanding content knowledge and delivery

      Interestingly, education systems have focused primarily on the first and last, but not the middle three - and these are the ones that create deep engagement in students.

      We have based this research on emergent social and educational neuroscience, and on leading coach practice.

      I blog on this at, and I am happy to provide articles/reports that have emerged from our research to any readers, or to this hub.

      Thanks for raising the conversation - we need to have a stronger voice such that we can systematically and strategically learn from our best teachers (something that our institutions also do poorly, if at all).

      Best regards,


    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 6 years ago from Castaic

      Thank you very much, Vernpaul!!! It's great to meet more educators here on HubPages! We, sure, need more good teachers out there, but with the budget cuts, education suffers, especially the children because they deserve much more. Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my hub. I really do appreciate it very much!!!:-)

    • Vernpaulwriter profile image

      Vernpaulwriter 6 years ago from backwoods of Nevada

      My wife and I are teachers, I taught 5th grade for eight years and the wife teaches first. Great hub.

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 6 years ago from Castaic

      Hello Denise!

      It's great to see another educator here on HubPages! I do come from a family of teachers, as well!!! Thank you for commenting on my hub. Hope you enjoyed it. God bless!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Teaching is such an important and honorable profession. I come from a family of teachers and my daughter Cara is an elementary teacher who writes here on hubpages: cardelean is her hubname. Nice hub.

    • profile image

      CarolineVABC 6 years ago

      Thank you very much for your kind words, Apostle Jack! Glad you enjoyed reading it:-).

    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 6 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      You hit the nail on the head.Good hub.

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 7 years ago from Castaic

      Hello Timothy Donnelly! Thank you for your very insightful and thought-provoking response to my hub. I completely agree with you. Indeed, a sense of value, security, trust and respect are all vital when it comes to teaching students. This way, they get affection and respect in return. Although these days teachers are extremely busy and are very pressured with educational system standards and, ultimately, are unlikely to focus on "what the students really need," aside from academic needs. Also, having a full class of 35-40 students, not to mention with different learning levels, no matter how they group them (honors or advanced classes), makes it difficult for teachers to focus on each one and have a meaningful relationship with the students, which I think is sad and needs to be readdressed, somehow. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this-I really enjoyed reading your comment. Have a wonderful 2011. God bless!

    • Timothy Donnelly profile image

      Timothy Donnelly 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The best teachers are the ones who can instill a fascination, curiosity, and love of learning in their students. The successful teachers know when and how to listen intimately to each student, dedicating this strategy as a prerequisite and vital tool in their their set of skills they bring with them to the job; this way, they can then use their own wisdom and knowledge to give an appropriate answer which will allow the student to find a solution to this and indeed every other question they may have. When working with youth and children, a sense of value, security, and trust must also be given. The students should then naturally develop a respect for their teacher, and each other. Remember, the person who is taught how to fish will always fare better than the one who is just provided lunch.

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 7 years ago from Castaic

      To Lita C. Malicdem: Hi Lita! Yes, I am somewhat new to the teaching profession. This is my second full-year. It's wonderful to meet another educator here on HubPages and you are absolutely right about teachers. They are one of the 'unsung' heroes and more often than not, go unappreciated, but the rewards is when you see the students loving you and how you've touched their lives. You are 'everything' to them because teachers wear many "hats." Thank you for your wondeful comments and taking your time to read my hub out of your busy day. Thanks for the best wishes as well. Best wishes and blessings to you, too!:-)

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

      Sounds like you are new in the teaching profession. Welcome to the noblest of all professions. Be another "unsung hero", one who looks not upon remunerations in terms of money, because teaching is a mission, and money is just next to it.

      No one will ever tell you how great you are as a teacher but the students whose lives you touched, who became inspired to study under your unselfish tutelage, who grew in wisdom through your patience, who improved their hidden talents through your persistence, who felt that they are cared for and loved like fragile possessions of a second parent. You are what you are to them- an influential role-model in every way. Good luck, Teacher!

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 7 years ago from Castaic

      To MoneyGlitch: Thank you very much for your comment and taking your time to read my hub. Yes, I definitely enjoy what I do and I am very blessed to have such wonderful students. Thank you, again, for your wonderful comments. God bless!:-)

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      I think it is awesome when there is a great match between teachers and students. It sounds like your students love you for all that you do for them, and you sound as though you enjoy every moment of the experience. That to me makes a great teacher/student relationship. Keep up the good work. :)

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 7 years ago from Castaic

      To ExpandYourMind: Thank you for reading my hub. I do appreciate your comment very much. Take care and God bless!:-)

    • ExpandYourMind profile image

      ExpandYourMind 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Good teachers are the lifeblood of any country. Thanks for pointing this out so well. I still remember fondly my third grade and eight grade teachers who encouraged and motivated me.

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 7 years ago from Castaic

      To Petra: You are so right, Petra! Teachers need to be there to support their students both academically as well as their gifts or talents. Every child is unique and they all have talents. While some talents are more obvious than others, for instance, the academically gifted and sports gifted, some are artistically gifted, musically gifted, born leaders or socially gifted. One of the most important jobs of teachers, in my opinion, is finding these gifts and try to encourage and support them as much as they can by trying to incorporate them in their teaching as much as possible. I cannot agree with you more that, in today's society, we need to rethink our teaching strategies and priorities to make a more promising future for our youth. Thank you very much for your reply. Hope you've enjoyed reading my hub. God bless!:-)

    • CarolineVABC profile image

      CarolineVABC 7 years ago from Castaic

      To Creativeone: I cannot agree with you more that no one should enter a field that they are not happy about, but unfortunately, it does happen and teaching profession is no exemption. Sometimes, people who have the most influence on them have advised them to go pursue a certain field or sometimes, it could be the "easiest" one to pursue at a time (getting a job from a family/relative, they are financially capable and so forth). It will be wonderful if everyone is happy with what they do, but then again, we all need both "good and bad" experiences for us to grow and become a better person. Although teaching is such a very demanding and complex profession, it can still be very rewarding and finding the "right" teacher/mentor for us can be very invigorating and can shape someone's life. Thank you for taking your time to read my hub-hope you enjoyed it:-). God bless!

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      I adored my first teacher, Madame Pretureanu and for the rest of my life I tried to be like her. I met her again at the time I was in college and I told her how much of an impression she had made on my young mined. I will never forget her answer:

      “We teachers are not supposed to treat children as empty recipients in need to be filled. Children are pure water springs; all we need to do is free their path and let them rivers”

      I can’t agree more; before giving children specific knowledge we need to understand their uniqueness and encourage their talents. I was an A+ student all my live except for chemistry that I failed more than once; part of the reason I suppose is that my chemistry teacher made me feel like an idiot for not getting the valency part of it and, she since she had made up her mind and tried to humiliate me for it, I never tried hard again.

      Out of all the professional out there in the world, teachers deserve more credit than anyone else; they can make or brake generations. Nothing bothers me more than the little respect and compensation those people get from today’s society. Time to re-think our strategies and make better priorities

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      I don't think anyone should do a job that they don't like, that's including teaching. It makes a great difference if you enjoy what you do and you will make it enjoyable to your student. Thank you for sharing. Godspeed. creativeone59