An outstanding teacher achieves excellence. They are highly knowledgeable, contagiously passionate, and ensure student progress by skilful planning and effective teaching. Committed to self-development, they collaborate with their peers to refine their skills in teaching and communicating. They model values such as integrity, diligence, compassion and humility. Outstanding teachers recognize that excellence is achievable with the right combination of inspiration and effort. They live out the words of Albert Einstein: “Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
In my growth as an educator, I have been delighted to discover another of Einstein’s sayings. “I have no special talents, I am merely passionately curious.” My one-year-old son is a living, breathing example of curiosity driven learning. Like him I possess a lifelong delight in discovery. Thankfully, I have experienced the reality that “to teach is to learn twice.” Teaching has enabled me to indulge my passion for learning through meeting the educational needs of students. Although it is a joy to teach, kindling curiosity is a serious responsibility. Guiding students’ efforts is a complex task and requires that I keep growing as an educator and as a person.
My hunger for knowledge and passionate curiosity naturally leads to professional growth in the company of other outstanding teachers and learners. I do this through attending professional development, collaborating with peers, participating in online learning communities, and further studies in education. These activities keep me grounded in the learning experience, making me a more effective teacher. Two examples will suffice here. I refer to my graduate studies in educational leadership and management. In contrast, there is the experience of singing with the internationally renowned ‘The Australian Voices.’ Membership of this acapella ensemble requires a serious commitment to excellence – a never-ending pursuit of life-long learning. Being a teacher is a profound responsibility that demands the same commitment to achieve.
As I seek to become an outstanding teacher, I would like to know what you think. Join the conversation on Twitter: #outstandingteacher or comment below.