An outstanding educator possesses unique qualities that set him or her apart from others in the field. Ask any student about a favorite teacher and listen intently as he or she describes that person with a smile. Ask a parent of a child who will enter first grade in the fall about the teacher choice for their child. The parent would describe the outstanding educator in their desire for that special teacher. The qualities of an outstanding educator are easily recognized by those whose lives they touch, shape, and change on a daily basis. It is in this writing piece that they will be described and discussed.
Outstanding educators are caring. While most educators possess this quality, it is the notable teacher that is able to transcend his or her feelings into concrete and measurable ways that demonstrate an investment in the individual student. The outstanding educator asks and continues to ask; what can I do for this child? What does this child need? How will I deliver? What resources are available? The student's progress and goals are constantly assessed and evaluated. Outstanding educators care about the whole child- academically and socially.
Another important quality of an outstanding educator is competence. Outstanding teachers are highly capable. They know how to do their job, and they do it very well. They are smart, well educated, and well trained. A highly competent teacher knows the importance of using best practices, and setting high expectations for learners. A great teacher fully understands the development of the age of children he or she works with. He or she knows and understands the content and curriculum of the grade taught. The outstanding teacher constantly raises their level of competence by seeking out professional development opportunities. The outstanding educator is a life-long learner, strives to raise their level of competence, and communicates this idea to students.
Lastly, outstanding educators are creative! The content of a particular lesson may stay constant over the years but the creative teacher continues to make the experience fun and exciting for students. Creativity in the classroom is vital in many aspects. The outstanding teacher needs to be innovative when planning lessons. A lesson goes much better when the students anticipate a fun, engaging learning experience. And when the actual lesson or activity is creative, the students are more likely to be actively involved and goals and objectives can be met. Creative teachers have huge bags of tricks' and don't give up trying different ideas and techniques that may work in the classroom.
As I thought about the most important qualities of an outstanding educator, certain individuals came to mind. It has been my good fortune to have had excellent teachers and instructors, and to have worked with people who are caring, competent, and creative. They were and continue to be outstanding educators. I have spent my professional career emulating them and working on perfecting those qualities that encompass an outstanding educator.