Spring is always such a great time of year. In education, spring signals a time for celebration. At this time of year we celebrate the end of another successful school year, the excitement for a change of pace, and the collective pride as a group of young adults graduate and start adventures of their own. Springtime in education is also frequently a time to say professional goodbyes to colleagues who are leaving our schools. This spring Morgan County School District celebrates a wonderful group of staff members who have reached a pinnacle in their careers and decided to retire. At this time of celebration and with this group of amazing educators it is certainly appropriate to reflect on what great teaching is and what makes a great teacher.
Many of us have powerful memories of influential teachers who created experiences that touched our lives when we needed direction. Some teachers reached us through their constant model of caring and grace while others pushed harder, expecting more from us than we thought possible. If we examine each of our personal experiences though we can always pinpoint a great teacher who found the way to reach our individuality. This specific talent, which so many MCSD teachers have, is what makes education so great.
Great teaching is more than the individual student/teacher relationship. Great teaching has the ability to create effective systems. A positive rapport built within each classroom will elevate student strengths and allow specific work on academic weaknesses. Strong systems also allow a teacher to move students towards both academic and social success. Great teaching involves parents and the community. Student success is a collective effort and through great teaching we create the flexibility and find the resources to solve whatever challenges arise.
If reaching students and creating success is great teaching then the next step is discovering who makes a great teacher. Simply stated a great teacher is one who facilitates the achievement of their students. For some it’s early mornings, late nights, and Saturday baseball games in an attempt to connect with a student. For others it is high expectations, guiding questions, and a gentle push towards increased student effort. For all it is a love of children and learning, a dedication to the positive benefits of education, and a desire to make a difference. Teachers choose to do this each day in a high stress but very rewarding environment. Great teachers choose to do this for the duration of an entire career.
This spring MCSD and Morgan Elementary School are celebrating the careers of a few great teachers. We will miss our day-to-day interactions but carry forward their desire to provide the best education possible for the students of Morgan County. During this time of transition take a moment to remember the great teachers in your life. Chances are one of them worked hard with your success in mind.