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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!


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 5 2011: Like how the Chinese proverb goes - Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day; Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime

    May be that's the difference between a good and a great teacher

    Concluding - Great teachers not just enlighten, but empower too
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      Jul 5 2011: Yes I think great teachers do that.

      I teach theatre/performing arts to children and I have two quotes that sum up what I aspire to be as a teacher.

      The first:
      "It's not, 'How smart is the child?' It's, 'How is the child smart?'" -Jim Greenman, author & educator

      The second:
      "Teach a child to fish and he will know how to fish. But teach a child to BE a fish - Now you've taught her something!" -Me (something of a "play" on the quote you mentioned)
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        Jul 6 2011: Agreed Jim

        Its like "doing different things v/s doing things differently"
    • Jul 6 2011: Yes, Krishna I agree. Nice insight.

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