3 min read

How to Spot a Truly Great Educator?

Teaching is revered as one of the noblest professions, and rightly so, because of the impact, it can have on the individual and society at large. The best teachers inspire students to think independently and achieve more than they believe possible.
Photo by Miguel Henriques / Unsplash

Teaching is revered as one of the noblest professions, and rightly so, because of the impact, it can have on the individual and society at large. Pedagogy is very important in the sense that it involves the methods by which ideas and concepts are communicated in a way that resonates with the individual and leads to a profound understanding of the subject matter.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

We understand new ideas when we can relate them to ideas we are already familiar with, and when there is some form of a natural extension. Starting from scratch doesn't work. A teacher who tailors their pedagogy to the student's current understanding and aspirations is able to make the learning process much easier.

I have taken many classes and given plenty of exams in my lifetime. I have encountered teachers of all calibers, and I have come to the conclusion that having a deep understanding of the topic at hand is extremely important, but not sufficient.

Richard Feynman said, "I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something." 

It is important to engage, enlighten, and spark the mind to think critically and understand the beauty of the subject. The best teachers I have had are those who are able to boil down the most difficult concepts into simple, relatable terms.

This quote emphasizes the importance of understanding the concepts and principles behind a subject, rather than just memorizing facts and terminology.

The best teacher inspires you to achieve and accomplish much more than you believe you can, empowering you to think independently and big. They encourage curiosity through questions and interaction and spark a spirit of wonder.

If you talk to any successful people in the world, they will attribute their success to at least one teacher or mentor who had a significant impact on their life. It might be the science professor who sparked your interest in the subject using a telescope, eventually leading you to become an astrophysicist or the music teacher who saw great talent in you and encouraged you to keep practicing your instrument.

There are countless examples of teachers shaping the minds and thought processes of a generation, which eventually has an impact on society.

Kalam also wrote extensively about the importance of education and the role of teachers in his book "Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India." In this book, he wrote: "A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame."

Teaching must be done with care and a well-wisher attitude toward the student, and a deep engagement with the topic. The enthusiasm will show when someone truly loves the subject and cares for their students. They will put in extra effort to perfect their slides or arrange a demonstration.

Learning can be curiosity-led or project-based, but ultimately it is about understanding and appreciating the subject matter and using it to explore the universe or solve world problems.

In either case, it is the teacher who sets the tone, who weaves the mental map of understanding and shows the path to something exciting and useful. A feeling of awe and inspiration fills the sparkling eyes of the eager learner, who is eager to learn, succeed, and share.

The best way to solidify your learning is said to be through teaching and sharing knowledge. The wealth that increases by giving is the supreme possession of all: knowledge. It helps you revisit ideas, gain new perspectives, spot gaps in your understanding, and invite discussion with the learner who views the subject with fresh eyes.

In conclusion, teaching is a noble profession that has the power to shape minds, inspire curiosity, and foster a love of learning. The best teachers are those who are deeply engaged with the subject matter, and who are able to tailor their pedagogy to the individual student.

Through their care and enthusiasm, they spark a spirit of wonder and curiosity in their students and help them to achieve their full potential.

Don't miss out on my latest updates and insights. Click the subscribe button to follow me and stay informed.