Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Great teachers know their students in deeper ways than any data can provide. They ask kids about their weekends. They chat about what kids are reading, and console them when their hamster dies. Teachers spend two hours per month, on Amazon, on the lookout for cool stuff to use in the classroom, and having real conversations with kids as a means to learning about the culture of the children they serve.
They learn continuously for themselves and their students. Teachers share their love of reading and are patrons of the arts. They are active citizens and engage students in current events. Outstanding teachers are not afraid to appear silly, create a whimsical classroom environment, or stray from the lesson plan just because the kiddos might be interested in something else, that day, that they saw on the news, or on social media. They play in the snow with kindergarteners; they shoot hoops with 6th graders after school; they share their food and time playing video games with 10th graders, during their 30 minute lunches.
The best thing we can do for children is to have them spend as much time with possible with interesting adults. So, great teachers need to be passionate, competent and interesting humans beyond the scope and sequence of the curriculum.
I've written this before; I'm writing it now; and I'll probably write it again some time: If you as a teacher, care more about the subject you're teaching than the subjects you're teaching, there's gonna be a disconnect.
I don't wanna teach you. I want to invest in you. If I invest in you, at the end of the day, when you get married and have your first kid, you'll text or DM me and say, "Mr. Mo! I just had my first kid!" That's an investment. When you invest in them, they'll do anything in the world for you.
That's what teaching is. That's what people who obsess over state tests, value-added scores, and school report cards fail to realize what teaching is. If we truly wish to make the world a better place for children, then we need many more teachers and a lot fewer facilitators!