I have been a teacher for many years. Recently, I put some questions to my colleague Mrs. Lula Francis, a licensed, veteran high school teacher. Lula Francis teaches science and has a great deal of experience in education. She involves herself in extra-curricular activities at her school and dedicates herself to the teaching experience. No teacher is more qualified to answer questions about teachers.
She’ll gladly tell you what a fine teacher she is, and by all accounts, she is just that. Mrs. Francis was named teacher of the year on three occasions. I asked her the following questions:
Q1. What makes a good teacher?
A1. “A good teacher sacrifices his or her personal feelings and makes the students a priority,” she says. “Good teachers are patient & understanding … they go the extra mile without being asked.”
I asked if that was her pat answer to this question, and she replied, “It is, and it isn’t – let me expand my answer and give you a little more detail” …
- Good teachers are expert managers – bad teachers are not.
- Good teachers are master organizers – bad teachers are not.
- Good teachers stay current – bad teachers are lazy about current trends.
- Good teachers have a long fuse – bad teachers are abrupt and impatient.
- Good teachers have the ability to inspire – bad teachers do not.
Q2. Why would anyone go into teaching – these days?
A2. She responds this way, “I believe, for some of us, teaching is a calling similar to that of a calling to the priesthood, or to the medical profession. In a sense, we teachers are naturally drawn and compelled to teach.”
“It obviously isn’t the salary that draws us,” she continues. “The salary is low, and summer vacations are unpaid. The public may not know that teachers get paid for ten months of the year, rather than twelve.”
Mrs. Francis concludes the impromptu interview by saying, “Teaching is a challenge. Time put into schoolwork before and after hours is daunting. Teaching has to be a calling!”
Sratch a teacher and there is just another human being underneath … but, for the most part, these humans seem to go the extra mile on a daily basis.