There are few individuals who are the backbone to a school, embody the soul of teaching or demonstrate the spirit of the quintessential educator. These final two types of teachers are seldom seen. In some areas of North America, they are merely mythological fantasies. All schools can survive and even thrive on teachers that are comprised of the aforementioned 6 types of teachers. But these two types will always hold the keys to igniting a nurturing, self-confident, and passionate child. They are the ultimate teacher types.
The Mother (Father)
I put “father” in parentheses here because the traditional archetype of this role is habitually a woman. This is the type of teacher that combines the “veteran” savvy with the “always wanted to be a teacher” rigor. What sets this type of teacher apart is the pure compassion she has for her students. Whether it is providing some one-on-one guidance during math class or holding impromptu pow-wow sessions with small groups of students to discuss the social side of school life, this teacher is always willing to listen and guide. These teachers do not flinch in their teacher role: the way they talk at family gatherings to nieces and nephews is the same way they approach their students. But because of the informal presence they give us, students feel a sense of family in the class. It is because this type of teacher really loves each new set of students they get every year.
As a inspiration of mine, Dr. Chris Emdin, says, “the folks who know how to teach and engage an audience don’t even know what teacher certification means”. Most of the people who are our master communicators, master motivators and master trend makers live outside the walls of our school. But every so often a few of these magicians choose a career in education. These people have the ability to blend content with absolute engagement. The way they speak to students is reminiscent of the way rappers convey their messages to fixated fans during a concert. The fans are fixated not usually because of the content but more because of the delivery of the content. These stars have the ability to change the tone of a classroom with conveyance and energy. They pluck the most important parts of the curriculum and use them in ways that students can relate to and are engaged with. They sense the “wave” of the class, at times taking spontaneous breaks that can last anywhere from 10 seconds to a few minutes. And most important, these teachers are not afraid to step out on the edge with new content and new practice. The magicians truly combine the best of all types of teachers. And they make it look effortless.
Of course, every teacher has a certain aspect of either “The Mother (Father)” or “The Magician” in them. Some teachers display it in different ways and through different means of communicating. Fortunately, when an entire staff creates an authentic community of vulnerability, passion, and commitment, you don’t need one teacher to be either “the mother” or “the magician”. Through the synergy of all teachers being on the same page and sharing a vision of the school, you will have created an ideal atmosphere of communication, engagement and learning.
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