My colleague and close friend, Chiara Ojeda, coined the term “superteacher.” Before we can explore the qualities of a superteacher, however, we must first agree that superteachers are needed now more than ever because schools kill creativity. Please take a moment to watch Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk:
Schools kill creativity, but superteachers can overcome even that obstacle. How? What makes a superteacher? What impact do superteachers have on students that ordinary teachers do not? Why should ordinary teachers push themselves to become superteachers? 5 steps can push you into the realm of the superteacher, and we will explore each step in detail in this superteacher series.
1. Superteachers are creative. When teaching a subject that is considered “boring” to students or when using a medium that is presently ineffective (cough: crazy online platforms), superteachers push through all barriers to find innovative solutions to those problems. Superteachers never create an atmosphere of boring lecture because they know lecture doesn’t work (Source). Superteachers know and practice the teachings of Confucius: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Superteachers model their classrooms after someone like Dr. Tae (Source: School Sucks). In Part One of our Superteachers series, we will explore the importance of creativity in a superteacher’s life.
2. Superteachers are passionate about learning. Yes, this is the most overused, cliched phrase in an educator’s vocabulary. Still, it’s true. Superteachers show their passion for learning because they are constantly learning themselves. They always have a book in their hands and an idea to improve their classes. A superteacher knows his or her job is to learn. In this way, a superteacher never gets bored or stagnant with class because lessons are constantly developing, changing, and improving. A superteacher is excited about learning and about sharing knowledge with others to increase learning exponentially.
3. Doing the work is the fun part for a superteacher. When a superteacher’s job requires 40 hours per week of work, they happily put in 50 hours at work and spend another 20 hours at home learning, designing, and creating. They don’t skirt responsibilities; they want to work. The work is hard, demanding, and exhausting, but a superteacher thrives in that environment. Even when they have a million things going on at home, a superteacher puts in the time preparing and delivers the strongest lecture the students have ever heard… every single class.
4. Superteachers are naturally optimistic. They don’t fake it, either. They see the maximum potential in everyone… even the jerks who have zero interest in learning. Superteachers are so optimistic that those jerks end up learning… and enjoying it! Superteachers are not actors or actresses; they genuinely exude confidence and encouragement. Stanford University explains this quality of superteachers occurs in two ways: instructor-group interaction and instructor-student interaction. The optimism superteachers have comes through in groups or one-on-one.
5. Superteachers are constantly developing their leadership potential. Leadership in a superteacher is just as important as leadership in a CEO or a president of a company. Superteachers’ leadership skills directly influence and shape the minds and lives of thousands of students. A superteacher is never satisfied with his or her present level of leadership and always works to improve those abilities.
In this series, we will examine each of the 5 qualities of superteachers; why those qualities are important; and how to cultivate each so that you can transform into a superteacher.