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Vice Principal, Educator - High School

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What is the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher?

I am curious to know what people consider the attributes that separate good from great. I would also like to know what you think would motivate a person who is a good teacher to aspire for that same greatness. Thanks for your ideas!

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Closing Statement from Gene Doray

Firstly, I am deeply appreciative of the thoughtful commentaries by all. As both a teacher and an administrator, I have a strong investment in finding out what motivates people to improve their practice. Passion for their subject area? Passion for student success? A combination of both? For me it boils down to the desire to make a positive impact and improve the life chances of all students. I believe it is an honour to have the opportunity to play such an important role in the lives of our children.
When I posed the question, in the back of my mind I was thinking about a quotation that I had heard that sought to explain why we had so few "great schools". It was something like, "the reason we only have a few great schools is that we have so many good ones." The statement first caused me to ponder what traits the speaker used to differentiate the two, but later I focused on the notion of "complacency". So, I wondered "aloud" what it is that causes a person to strive for more. Once again, thanks for sharing your ideas and insights with us all. I apologize for not being involved for the past several weeks as I was enjoying some family time on an island with no computer in sight!

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    Jul 4 2011: A great teacher is the one who shows you the path but doesn't walk it with you. The great teachers permit us to find our own path, our own way to be. And they help us to discover things we didn't know, but by our own means. A great teacher give us the right instruments to go on.

    I make now the question: What is the difference between a good student a great student and a disciple?
    • Jul 4 2011: I completely agree that a great teacher or mentor shows you the path but also exposes to multiple paths or opporttunities along the way. In life it is the teacher of experiences that really is the guding factor. I beleive educators serve as mentors is manty ways... mentors provide advice and an objective point of view but ultimiately it is the student's choice in the avenue or path they take. There is a fine line between mentoring and providing support versus promoting a personal agenda through others. we focus so much on today's teachers that we have forgotten to truly develop and engage today's learners. what is the point of learning today when so much information is free to you through all of the various mediums. I feel that this new generation will be data rich but lack the objective ability to decipher the data into truth and make use of the information in a positive way. Are students today becoming surface learners with no depth of true understanding?
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        Jul 4 2011: Signore Matthews Not all the persons to go to scholl or university are students. Today we have to suffer a wide range of barbarians in student disguise. Like skaters they stay lightly in the surface of knowledge. The confussion among the students is that they never abandoned the status of people without light. They dont want to leave the pupil stage just for their real incompettence. I saw a photograph of a graduated boy from some very fancy university in US stand out a building as a job seeker with his announce writen in a piece of cardboard (new Yor times) and in the next page the photograph of a homeless who win a very good job just by his voice, The actual students are lost in a dump of specialization, and they have to face the looser sense in their lives. As my dear Alessandro Baricco says..."Google is the barbarians village."
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          Jul 7 2011: Luigi! You thrill me with your gritty assessment of things! The bad boy of the Labyrinth feels things passionately! Barbarians have always been the enemies of Roma.

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