My Vision of Becoming a Great Teacher

by yohewriter

Teachers have a lot of influence in shaping a student's mindset about education. The wonderful experiences I had as a child are the inspiration for me to become a great teacher.

A teacher has many tools available to guide his or her students in the direction that is desired. The key is that the child must want to walk this journey as a matter of their own choice. It can be difficult at times to provide an environment that achieves this goal because every student is different. Having awesome visual devices and cues will bring education alive. The use of humor will make them laugh. And if you bring a true, honest personality and stories that are dearest to your heart into their realm, children will flock around you for attention. It is by creating these kinds of experiences that great teachers are forged.

The Traditional Way of Teaching

Before the advent of our complex technology, a teacher had at his or her disposal a simple blackboard, chalk, and a felt eraser. Notes were scribbled frantically onto paper by students. The only pictures available were what was displayed in the textbook or whatever talent the teacher may have had to draw out diagrams on the black board.

For centuries these were the tools that would help instructors to take educational concepts and attempt to bring them to life for the students in an effort to spark their interest. To a large degree it took a good amount of imagination to visualize what it was that the teacher was trying to convey. If you were a visual or hands-on learner, school may have been a bit tough.

Times were simpler then and the traditional Industrial Revolution-style classroom produced some very productive citizens. The advent of technology has made computers a household necessity starting about the 1990's and, as a result. these tools have changed the educational landscape forever.

My How We've Grown!

A Look at Technology Progress

I remember when the Atari 2600 hit the markets and took off with amazing success. Yes, I know I'm showing my age, but I really enjoyed the era in which I grew up. I have had the opportunity to see both sides of the coin. One side is the existence of life before the age of computers. The other side allows me to write this article and then share it on twelve different social media sites. Our written words now have the ability to travel from the United States to literally any country in the world as a result of the foundations laid by companies like Microsoft and Apple.

Students are able to capitalize on the benefits of technology. The days of the chalk and blackboard are long over and have been replaced by "Smartboards". 

Smartboards are a wonderful way for students to learn, no matter what type of a learner they are psychologically. A pupil who learns by visualizing can watch the animation develop and take shape right before their eyes, using photos, videos, maps or whatever form of media the teacher chooses to implement. If a child is an auditory learner, then he or she can listen to what is said and form a discussion to grasp the concepts easily. If a student learns by touch, then they can approach the board and make use of the touchscreen to interact with the enabled applications. 


Interacting With a Smartboard
Interacting With a Smartboard
Flickr Kathy Cassidy

The white boards are essentially replacements for the overhead projector that I remember very well in school. If you were lucky enough to sit right next to the machine, you could smell the heat coming off of the light bulb. Add in the strong scent of an erasable marker and you now have my memory of note-taking in class. One of those memories also involves a class prankster who decided to shove a ball of cheese into the projector when the teacher wasn't looking. It eventually started smoking and melted the plastic sheet laying on the glass lens. Dirty prankster!

The World in the Palm of Their Hands

Most of the private and a few of the public schools are making Ipads available to students in the classroom. The world is now just a touchscreen away and children even as young as kindergarten are getting in on the action. Education becomes more personal and fun when an electronic gadget becomes a part of the equation.  It reminds them of the games they may play at home on a Nintendo DS, computer or their own Ipad, for that matter.


Ipads in the Classroom
Ipads in the Classroom
Flickr Batista Digital

Teachers too can monopolize on this great tool by individually monitoring each students progress. All information can be stored, retrieved, and analyzed through any number of means. Accountability is very high and the implementation of IEPs (Individual Education Plans) can be very specific and goal-driven. We've come a long way from the Atari 2600.

Oh the Power of Humor!

The video above is a bit grainy but the teacher in it portrays exactly the kind of teacher I intend to become in a couple of years. His humor is very spontaneous and it incorporates many visual cues. Laughter is an act we all love to do as it surges all that good chemistry through the brain. If your mind is consistently being bathed in funny juice you will not only enjoy the course, but your brain will be open to absorb the material like a sponge.

One of the greatest teachers I have ever had was Mr. Snyder, my 3rd grade science teacher. He loved to tell jokes and he was always trying to weave some sort of humor into the science curriculum. We spent a lot of time laughing in his class and grew to adore him as a person. After class, students would stay behind and ask questions or talk with him because nearly everyone wanted to hang around him. Teachers wield great power to influence their students and humor is a wonderfully enhancing tool. 

Teacher Attributes

Is Humor Necessary?

The gift of humor is not a trait that every teacher possesses or necessarily needs to be successful. Finding a way to appeal to your students is a task that requires inward reflection and a recognition of passions.

The first rule, I believe, is that you have to like children. There are some teachers who try to effectively teach, but there isn't any connection to their students. They simply push through the school year just to earn the paycheck. They are unwilling to admit they don't care for children or their deeper interests. This attitude isn't prevalent in our schools (I hope), but can be very detrimental to a child's education.


I had one of these teachers in grade school who was either severely disliked or was feared by my classmates (myself included). One day, someone got the idea to put a tack in her chair. Ms. Greer did end up sitting on it and, boy, was she furious. She stopped teaching at my school the following year. I never knew why exactly, but we were all glad she was gone. Her inability to even want to connect with her students nearly created a hostile environment. 

Tacky Situation
Tacky Situation

Concluding Thoughts

The use of technology and humor are fantastic ways to achieve the status of "great teacher". These are certainly two aspects I intend to use in my classroom as I have a passion for both of them.

There is yet one more characteristic of a stellar instructor and that is having an honest personality and being willing to share personal stories.

Sharing the Moment
Sharing the Moment
Truly Making a Difference

In grade school one of my teachers, Mr. Putnam, was a master of this very personal trait. He spoke with us about his life each day and he truly wanted to hear our stories as well. He opened himself up completely and let us experience his true personality through his very captivating stories. As a result, I always felt a comfortable warmth while sitting in his classroom. I clearly remember watching the snow fall through the second-story window one winter and soaking up the good feeling. That moment is a great inspiration for me.

Mr. Putnam taught social studies, which for many students could be a subject that they would not necessarily find interesting, but he gave it life. On the last day of school he cried because we would no longer be in his classroom the next year. Sobs could be heard throughout the classroom - all of us were deeply touched. I hope that I am able to achieve that kind of connection with my students. In doing so, my vision of becoming a great teacher will be fully realized.

Updated: 06/30/2015, yohewriter
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katiem2 on 05/23/2015

Great to have you here. Humor is indeed the most positive attribute any teacher can bring to the learning experience considering the human real life honesty as you spoke of is a given. Aspiring to teach like the prof. in the video is a wonderful goal. I admire you already. It is a great teacher who realizes the enormity of their place in the world, the impact they WILL have on the lives of so many children soon to be role models themselves one day, good or bad. I am very passionate about quality education. There are three kinds of teachers, first those who are forgotten, those who are remembered as being hateful and hated and those who impress children leaving a positive mark on them always and forever. My most positive thoughts are with you as you grow and become a better teacher.

Mira on 04/21/2015

Welcome to Wizzley! I enjoyed your article and wish you the best in your profession. Teaching is hard, not least because students do like all sorts of pranks, as you say :) I look forward to more of your articles, some of them, perhaps, sharing some stories from the classroom.

CorreenK on 02/19/2015

Standing ovation! And welcome to Wizzley.

To this day I have distinct memories of two teachers that made a difference in my life - both had a warm, approachable nature and I knew just by their actions that they loved, loved teaching others!

yohewriter on 02/17/2015

I absolutely agree WriterArtist! The day the education system takes the fun out of learning is the day when students either stop learning or their learning is seriously hindered. Most people get nervous when test-taking and that stress in and of itself can cause them to do poorly. One tactic that is being used in a hybrid course I am taking is that you can take a test with a three hour limit or there isn't a time frame. This provides a bit of ease in the testing.
I know it is scientifically proven that learning occurs more rapidly and stays with someone longer when they can apply a positive and/or humorous experience with the subject. That's how I remember the good teachers of my youth. Thank you for your comment and insight!

WriterArtist on 02/12/2015

I have great respect for teachers as my Mom was one. In the present times, the heavy curriculum and competition brings stress in the lives of kids. While some amount of competitiveness is essential, it would certainly make a difference if teaching and learning is made a fun activity. Too many tests are no good, I remember our times when we had just one final exam to worry. We had many small tests during the year but they were not assessed for the final grades, they were used as a means of preparation only.

yohewriter on 02/11/2015

Greetings burntchestnut! You make a very valid point which I have heard from some retired teachers, that testing was stressed over instruction which became the reason they left the profession. Their hands were tied and they grew extremely frustrated, eventually throwing in towel.
The federal government has decided that academic progress and funding is essentially solely based on multiple testings. I am currently working on an article that will address that issue with the St. Louis Charter Schools. I am also beginning to become involved with an education revolution that seeks to effectively deal with the issues of testing and overhauling our education system. I will share here on Wizzley.
Thank you for your comment! :)

yohewriter on 02/11/2015

Hi Country Sunshine! Can't get a more positive name than that! Teachers today do have the challenge of teaching on multiple fronts. They need to be able to embrace technology, yet still be that good, close teacher students need for success. And, being that same person out of class as they are in it, brings out a certain authenticity that kids read and respect, even if they may not respect other adults.
Thank you for your support! :)

yohewriter on 02/11/2015

Thanks, kajohu, not only for forwarding the article to your husband, but also for sharing one of your middle school experiences. That is kinda funny to put a teacher's purse in the oven, although that act may have sparked some long-term scarring. But, that goes to show that it takes a certain personality to teach and, if you don't have what it takes, you'll be driven to a nervous breakdown. I appreciate the support!

yohewriter on 02/11/2015

Thank you, dustytoes, for your support of male teachers. I totally agree and, I have heard as well from professionals, that our schools need folks like myself. It is an honor to be able to fill those shoes, although a tall order it may be. Kids do click so well with the very personable teachers and I am excited to be able to join their ranks.
I do love your experience with the 4-grade boy. I think it is moments like those that all good teachers live for and parents relish in the fact that their child is in good hands.
Thank you so much for the "best of luck" - I know that luck is going to come in handy!

AngelaJohnson on 02/11/2015

Unfotunately, many teachers are stifled by school boards and emphasis on testing scores. It's a shame when teachers aren't allowed to teach. I'm glad to hear there are some school systems who care about teaching children rather than "points" for test scores.

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