I have been teaching for decades now, including time teaching high school English and GED and my current run as college writing instructor, but I still consider myself a work in progress. I think when you are done growing as a teacher then it is time to retire. One of the ways that I continue to learn and grow as a teacher is to surround myself with rock stars. I am fortunate to work with rock star teachers through the National Writing Project and learn from rock star teachers both in person and online. If you want to be a better teacher then you need to surround yourself with rock stars. There are three traits that every rock star teacher possesses.
Rock Star Teachers Are Open
Great teachers are open in so many ways. They open their hearts and their minds to their students so they can learn from and with and about their students. Incredible teachers are open to learning about their content and teaching and things they never even thought about learning until they did. Terrific teachers are open to experiments in their classroom which means they are open to failure and mistakes (both their own and others). Amazing teachers are open to their humanity because they know loving what they do, loving their students, and loving life makes their classrooms a wonderful place to be.
Rock Star Teachers Are Passionate
Outstanding teachers passionate about their content, their students, and their goals. Their love for their content brings a positive energy to every lesson that inspires students to follow their lead even when they suspect that novel really isn’t that good or that chemical reaction really won’t be as amazing as advertised. Wonderful teachers make learning fun even when it is just grammar rules and math facts and state capitals. But perhaps most important of all, excellent teachers believe their students can learn more, do more, and be more. These teachers have one bottom line – they want their students to be rock stars, too, and they are true believers in their students.
Rock Star Teachers Are Flexible
Marvelous teachers are flexible when content, students, or life inspire a pause or change in course. Sometimes this means embarking on a wonderful detour inspired by students, outside forces, or a wonderful synergy of minds. Awesome teachers can meet the challenges when students need or want more from a lesson that dictates a pit stop to refuel or a complete change of tires. Magnificent teachers are able to take the lemons that life sends their way in the form of technology glitches and fire drills and the aftermath of too much Halloween candy, incidents that might derail a lesser teacher, and instead turn those lemons into the best lemonade anyone in the room ever had.
All teachers should aspire to be rock star teachers and the best way to become a rock star teacher is to surround yourself with rock star teachers. Even if some days you are more garage band than headline act, keep on rocking. Your teaching, your students, and you will all benefit from the practice. Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar, don’t you?
What qualities do you think makes a rock star teacher? How many rock star teachers do you know? I originally planned to pull in some of my rock stars to illustrate this post, but they are too many to name and just thinking about the ways they inspire me made me cry.