Practices that Turn an Ordinary Teacher into an Extraordinary Teacher

Extraordinary Teacher
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Every teacher has their own style. They are unique by nature. They are molded and shaped by experience, their personality, and an internal desire to give the students that they work with the tools they need to be successful.  Teachers are like snowflakes and fingerprints. No two are exactly alike. 

This is what makes the profession so endearing, but also difficult to gauge and understand.  Individualism in teaching should be championed.

It is this individualism that separates an ordinary teacher from an extraordinary teacher.  As with any profession, teachers will get out what they put in. While this list is by no means exclusive, many extraordinary teachers take on several of the following practices that help transform them from ordinary.

An extraordinary teacher……….has no limits when it comes to helping a student succeed. They push boundaries, experiment with creative solutions and find a way to get the job done. They believe every child can succeed and refuse to believe otherwise.

An extraordinary teacher……….is willing to make personal sacrifices for their school and their students. They volunteer for extra duties including tutoring, sponsoring clubs or programs, writing grants, or assisting in any area where help may be needed.

An extraordinary teacher……….is a curriculum savant. They know the material that they teach inside and out.

They are constantly studying, discussing, and researching their specialized content area. Their subject area knowledge goes beyond their classroom textbook.

An extraordinary teacher……….understands that exceptional teaching begins and ends with building outstanding relationships. They are described as a people person.

They are well-liked by everyone, are great communicators, and are able to find some common ground with people from all walks of life.

An extraordinary teacher……….takes the time to invest in students beyond the classroom. They attend sporting events or activities in which their students are participating. They provide assistance for families of students who may be struggling financially.

An extraordinary teacher……….is visible and approachable. They stand out in the hallway in between classes having casual conversations with students and other teachers. They engage in friendly conversations with parents and community members while out in public.

An extraordinary teacher……….will leave no stone unturned to ensure that their lessons are dynamic, engaging, and on point when it comes to delivering the content they teach. They create captivating lessons that not only grab the attention of their students, but maintain it throughout and keep them coming back for more.

An extraordinary teacher……….never becomes bored with the job. Each day presents new challenges and new obstacles in which they are excited to overcome. They are continuously thinking about how to become a better teacher.

An extraordinary teacher……….takes on a mentorship role with inexperienced teachers.

They have a desire to pass their experiences and knowledge on to others to help them become extraordinary as well. They are willing to share anything and everything with any teacher who will listen.

An extraordinary teacher……….does not believe that their way of teaching is the only or best way to teach. They are open to learning from other teachers. They are constantly researching new instructional strategies and improving pedagogy.

An extraordinary teacher……….never belittles, berates, or talks down to a student. Instead, they encourage, empower, and inspire them.   They understand that they are role models who should take advantage of the time they have with their students to make a difference.

An extraordinary teacher……….works cooperatively with those around them. They are the consummate team player willing to go above and beyond to help out another teacher, coach, support employee, etc.

They make those around them feel appreciated.

An extraordinary teacher……….still has a full tank after teaching for 20 or more years. They are still as passionate as or more so than they were their first year of teaching. The thought of doing anything else never crosses their mind.

An extraordinary teacher……….understands that the time they have with their students is limited and precious. They never give down time, but instead utilize their time to maximize learning through engaging activities and exploratory learning.

An extraordinary teacher……….is not afraid to change and adapt. They understand that the world is continuously evolving and that they must do the same to remain effective.  They know that life will throw curve balls and that in order to thrive you must be willing to make adjustments.

An extraordinary teacher……….meets every student’s individual needs. They differentiate instruction on a daily basis.  They challenge their advanced students, ensure that their lower level students are not getting frustrated, and give everyone else something in between.

An extraordinary teacher……….utilizes technological advances to enhance teaching and learning in their classroom. They are not afraid to try and incorporate new technologies into their lessons because they realize that we live in a world dominated by technology.

An extraordinary teacher……….builds great relationships with their student’s parents. They communicate openly and frequently. Parents trust the teacher wholeheartedly. These relationships often continue even when the child is no longer in the teacher’s class.

An extraordinary teacher……….does not discount the services that support personnel provides. They realize that the people filling these positions ensure that the school operates smoothly.  They tell them thank you often and make sure they feel appreciated.

An extraordinary teacher……….makes their class memorable through special projects and by incorporating storytelling and humor into their lessons regularly.

  They understand that students will get more from their class by teaching in this manner.

An extraordinary teacher……….sets goals for themselves and their students each year. These personalized learning goals are the driving force behind everything that is done throughout the year. When goals are met, they are celebrated, and new goals are set.

An extraordinary teacher……….understands that data always tells a story and is an expert at dissecting the data to figure out that story. They evaluate data for individual students as well as the whole class. Data is utilized to drive all avenues of instruction.

An extraordinary teacher……….takes a preventive and proactive approach to classroom management. They establish clearly defined expectations, procedures, and rules on the first day of school. They hold students accountable for their actions, but do so while maintaining their dignity.

An extraordinary teacher……….utilizes a variety of formative assessments to determine a student’s strengths and weaknesses.  This data is always shared with the student so that they are always aware of where they stand. In addition, the teacher shares their plan for getting them the next level. 

An extraordinary teacher……….never takes their job for granted. They understand that teaching is a privilege. They are proud of the work that they do and enjoy being around all stakeholders, but especially their students.