All of those are great qualities for a teacher, but I think that the number one quality a future teacher needs to have is a love for his or her students.
I recently started reading To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson by Heidi Swinton. I haven’t read very far into it, but one of my favorite stories so far is the story Swinton tells about President Monson’s Sunday School teacher, Lucy Gertsch. According to President Monson, many teachers turned down the opportunity of teaching his class because of the overabundance of, um, energy prevailing in the class. Sister Gertsch, however, took the job and the kids learned to love her. Why? In the words of President Monson, “She was beautiful, soft-spoken, and interested in us. She asked each class member to introduce himself, and then she asked questions which gave her an understanding and insight into the background of each.” They loved her because she took the time to show them that she loved them.
My human development teacher once taught a lesson about high-risk students, meaning those that were more likely to flunk or drop out of school. What gives these students the motivation to keep going in school and get to higher places? One teacher. That’s all. It just takes one teacher that shows their students that they can do it and that sees what is inside them and knows that they can go places. I myself know that I learn so much better when I know that my teacher believes in me and loves me.
We’ve all seen it in those teacher movies: Freedom Writers, The Ron Clark Story, October Sky, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Matilda; the list goes on and on. Teachers and leaders have the power to change lives. I think we still don’t realize how much influence we can have on the world, just by showing others (not just our students) how much we love them. As President Monson once said, “Love, that noblest attribute of the human soul, can work wonders.”
How has a teacher shown his or her love for you? I would love to hear your stories!