Most people leave school having a favorite teacher. This person was someone who stood out to them above the rest and had a positive influence on their lives. Some people’s opinions of an outstanding teacher may vary slightly; however, I believe most times all centralize around certain concepts. In my opinion, the difference between a great teacher and an outstanding teacher all comes down to the relationships formed. An outstanding teacher is one who listens just as much as they talk, if not more. From experience, I have discovered that I can learn just as much from my students as they can from me. Being receptive and open to students and their input builds trust as well as respect. An outstanding teacher knows his/her students, focuses on their individual strengths and builds on weaknesses. Because of this knowledge, teachers are able to demand the best from each student and make individual adaptations to nurture student success by first meeting at the student’s unique level.
An outstanding teacher is someone who not only teaches, but demonstrates, generosity, mastery, independence, and belonging (Circle of Courage). They are enthusiastic about what they are teaching and make learning both engaging and fun. An outstanding teacher models self-reflection and self-advocacy and assists students in doing the same. They believe in each and every student and facilitate a safe, welcoming, and judgement-free classroom. Inclusive practices and a variety of teaching styles are part of this teacher’s professional repertoire and get used on a daily basis. An outstanding teacher is not just aware, but utilizes to benefit learning, the fact that each student has their own personal story and brings “baggage” and experiences (good and bad) to school each day with them. An outstanding teacher uses their passion, leadership skills, and flexibility to foster student learning. This teacher is resourceful and collaborative, as well as, organized (but allows for organized chaos). This teacher relates curriculum to everyday life, is fair and honest, and makes his/her students feel valued, important and smart. An outstanding teacher has a sense of humour; is relatable; never gives up helping; and recognizes the importance of a positive school community, consequently is involved in many school activities. The reason a teacher is outstanding is because they value professional development and educational growth as well as demonstrate lifelong learning.