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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 6 2011: Great teachers appear everywhere, at every moment and in every form. It is whether we are receptive to the teachings. It is easy to mistake the term "education" for what is merely schooling.
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      Jul 6 2011: I agree completely. Nearly everything we do, from tying our shoes to performing brain surgery, has been taught to us. Teaching is like a glue that holds a society together.
    • Jul 6 2011: I think there has been a significant shift from our focus on teaching to what our students are actually learning. Having said that, "our students' learn everywhere and through good and bad examples and a variety of life experiences. I remember that saying that some things cannot be taught, only learned, and I have always liked the implication that being "receptive" to learning is the key. Thanks for the reminder!

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