What makes a teacher great?
My senior year in high school I finally decided to take typing. The year before I wrote for the school paper and handed in all my copy handwritten.
I wasn’t very fast. I was at the bottom of the class. There was little motivation to become faster, just wanted to learn.
The required minimum speed to pass was accomplished during the last week of school.
The teacher was Mr. Goliver. He was also my Economics teacher that year. Let me say he neither was my favorite subjects or was he what I considered my best teacher, but I’m using him as an example, a good example.
Like all of us, he had is good days and bad. He was energetic. He shared personal experiences. He spoke load and clear. He called you out if it needed to be done.
It’s hard to imagine anything tougher than teaching business and office related subjects to kids who, for the most part, will never use the subjects again and knew it. Nevertheless his enthusiasm for a dull subject kept it interesting.
It was in the early spring of my senior year. I had a tooth that was killing me. I’d never in my life seen a dentist. That was for rich people or for when all your teeth were so rotted they had to be pulled for dentures.
While in typing class Mr. Goliver noticed my pain.
“If I get you an appointment will you go,” he said.
“Yes,” I said.
At that point he could have handed me a loaded revolver and I would have tried to blow my tooth out.
Mr. Goliver left the room and came back ten minutes later with a slip of paper. He handed it to me. “This guy’s a dentist. He’s a friend of mine. You have an appointment Saturday morning.”
The appointment was kept, the tooth extracted, and was forever grateful.
What makes a great teacher? Enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject and personal interest in the student.