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Teachers, Teaching, and Top Traits

Quick – name a teacher who helped shape who you are today. If you’re like most people, and like me, you can name a few.

Mrs. Sharrett, my 4th grade teacher, who made paying attention pay off. She used operant conditioning on her willing subjects, making intentional mistakes and paying the first student to point it out with a piece of candy from a special drawer in her desk.

Mr. Buhn, my high school physics teacher, a man completely grounded in science and yet still fun in the way he taught his passion. He was delighted when his class gave him membership to the Flat Earth Society. He used their monthly newsletter as a springboard for lessons on how things really work.

Miss Gardner, my performing arts teacher and coach, who took raw talent, lit a fire under its container, and created the knowledge and belief that I would be a performer. And I was, for three decades, a very successful major market radio personality. Thank you for believing in me, Miss Gardner!

Teachers might just be the most under-appreciated people in US work culture. They hold the future of our world in their hands every day, trying to enlighten those willing to learn while trying not to come down too hard on those who only want to disrupt and disturb. Teachers work with people from completely different backgrounds, cultures, parental attention and support, and must adapt their teaching style constantly. Teachers have to know their material inside, outside, and upside-down, and must find ways to help their students want to learn it.

And maybe the toughest part of all – teachers are measured on how their students do on standardized tests, when the most fundamental truth about teaching is that you can only teach to those who want to learn.

Knowing all that, would you sign up to be a teacher? If you said “yes” then you are a very special breed of human being, and should join the ranks of those who are already teachers. If you want to learn a little more, here are three episodes of the world’s second-shortest podcast, the Wellbeing Wisdom Tiny Bites podcast, to enlighten you about teachers, teaching, and learning.

Want to celebrate those who are really influential in your life? Here’s a Tiny Bite for that!

Need help learning, especially learning something you thought you knew? Here’s a Tiny Bite for that!

Want to teach yourself to stand up for yourself? Here’s a Tiny Bite for that!

Today is National Teachers Day. Thank you to every teacher, most especially the ones who make learning fun, like Mrs. Sharrett, Mr. Buhn, and Miss Gardner did for me. Take a moment today to reminisce on the great teachers you had. Write down their names, what you remember about their personalities, and what made them a standout teacher in your life. If they’re still around, today is a great day to reach out and thank them for being a positive influence in your life.

Sandy Weaver
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