The wonderful YouTube science creator Mark Rober said the following during his cool video about winning the board game “Guess Who.”
“Teachers don’t make a difference. Awesome teachers make a difference.”
I think he’s right. And you’ll have to watch the video to get the context, because it’s sweet, and because his quote sounds more disparaging in print than it does in the video.
Rober continues, about the three or four teachers who most affected him:
“Each of those teachers had their own teaching style, but I think that the common thread was that I could just tell that they cared about me as a person and their passion about the subject they were teaching was contagious.”
Let’s take his thoughts a little further, though. He zips through this moment quickly, and doesn’t say a few important things that teachers all know.
1. Virtually every teacher I’ve ever met wants to make a difference in their students’ lives.
2. Becoming that awesome teacher involves more than just knowing the subject – it involves a complex cocktail of skills built over a long time to convey knowledge, inspire curiosity, and engage young minds.
And most important and elusive:
3. No teacher will be that one awesome teacher for every student.
Personal chemistry, timing, and any number of other random events mean that even the most awesome of awesome teachers will not reach every student, or be what every student needs at the moment they meet.
Every teacher I know wants to be an awesome teacher, and every teacher I know is that awesome teacher for some student.