What Makes a Great Teacher?

 What Makes a Great Teacher?

By Jennifer Kelleher

What makes a great teacher? I have thought about this question a lot over the years, reflecting on the standout teachers, mentors, and coaches that I have had and the qualities that made them, what I would consider, great.

First and foremost, all teachers should be thoroughly trained and certified in what they are facilitating. Students put a lot of trust in their teachers, which is why teaching something without having gone through the proper training can be not only deceitful, but also dangerous. When choosing a teacher, I encourage you to ask them about their training and make sure you are comfortable with their level of study.

While proper training is the first obvious prerequisite, a great teacher requires a lot more than that. A great teacher is built over time as they come to embody their teachings, sharing from their heart, not their head. When a teacher shares information from their passion and experience, it helps the student to deeply connect with the lesson, absorb the information, and become inspired by and excel in the area of study.

A great teacher also realizes that classes are about the students, not the teacher. They come prepared with a plan, but ultimately, they let the students guide how the class unfolds. In order to do this successfully, the teacher has to be grounded and present, and see and listen to their students.

Next, a great teacher wants the best for their students. They are genuinely motivating and uplifting. They challenge their pupils to continue to improve, while making them feel confident and capable. They give their students the tools and self-assurance to trust and believe in themselves, and to apply their studies in their own lives.

This one is very important– a great teacher is humble and kind. They themselves never stop being a student and they keep an open mind, recognizing that there is always something new to learn. As a teacher, I find that my students are often my greatest teachers.

Furthermore, a great teacher is authentic and honest in their teachings. They show up as themselves, lead from their heart with their best intentions, and know that sometimes they will make mistakes and that’s ok. They are true to themselves and their students and are honest if they don’t know the answer to a question.

Finally, a great teacher has strong verbal and non-verbal communication. They are warm and personable, making their students feel welcomed and safe. They speak clearly and articulate their ideas and instructions in a relatable fashion. A great teacher invites their students to ask questions. They see and listen to their students and respond accordingly.

I have been lucky to have incredible teachers, mentors, and coaches throughout the years, all of whom have left a lasting inspiration on my life and helped to shape the person and teacher that I am today. Ocean Bliss Yoga has a dedicated staff of highly trained, skilled teachers that bring individuality, kindness, and compassion to their students and classes. We invite you to join us for yoga, Pilates, sound baths, and more in our beautiful, clean, cool studio space on the third floor of the Belle Harbor Yacht Club. Parking available in the lot downstairs. Sign up for classes at oceanblissyoga.net. Call me with any questions at 917-318-1168.

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