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The definition of “good teacher” is elusive and depends on the student.  However, in general there are some factors good teachers have in common.  Good teachers listen to their students.  They teach students, not subjects.  Don’t get me wrong.  A good teacher is passionate about the subject matter.  It takes passion to make a subject important.  However, it is also important to distinguish between that and caring about teaching.  A good teacher has both.

A lot of effort and preparation goes into teaching.  There is talent, experience, and training involved.  It is true that natural teaching talent exists, but even it requires guidance.  Good teachers care, but I think all teachers care.  A good teacher knows when to let things go.  Teaching is an emotional experience.  Good teachers know when to leave the job at work and balance their social and work life. 

Another feature of a good teacher is respect for and understanding of students as people.  You can create very good lessons and have no appreciation for students as the people sitting in the chairs, and ultimately you will not reach them.  Teachers who really make an impact are the ones who come to students’ games, listen to their stories of hardships, and take that extra step to show students that they care.  

Teachers should never talk down to students, belittle them, make jokes at the students' expense, or bully them.  These things will never help, and they can only hurt.  Teachers can make a huge impact for good, but can also do great harm without even realizing it.  That is the power of being a teacher.

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