The Ways Great Teachers Transform Lives Every Day

In honor of World Teacher’s Day, I’m looking at some of the ways great teachers transform lives every day. Can you think of a teacher who transformed your life?

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How Great Teachers Change Lives Every Day

Both my children and I have been incredibly fortunate to have some incredible teachers. Teachers transform lives every single day. In honor of World Teacher Day, I’m going to highlight some of the ways teachers have impacted my life, my husband’s life, and the lives of my children.

Teachers Change Lives by Encouraging Creativity

I think we often forget how much teachers can encourage creativity! I had amazing music and drama teachers in high school who pushed me to think creatively about musical and theatrical interpretation. My children’s school doesn’t have a formal art class, but a PTA-funded art enrichment program encourages them to work creatively with art materials.

Great teachers also teach creativity outside of the arts. Emma and Johnny had a P.E. teacher who was incredibly creative. His students played quidditch and other role-playing games while building gross motor skills. He made physical education fun for ALL of the children, not just those who were naturally athletic.

How great teachers shape and transform children's lives every single day.

Teachers Change Lives by Teaching Collaboration

Knowing how to work collaboratively as a team on a project does not seem to come naturally to very many children. A teacher who knows how to facilitate group work so that each child has a role and is participating in a collaborative project can teach important life skills. In an effective group work setting, children learn more by working with their peers than they ever would on their own. I had a history teacher once who broke us into teams to create newscasts featuring the top news items of the week. We were allowed to divide up the news segments according to our personal interests and strengths. The teacher rewarded creativity and innovation, and taught us to use our team members to come up with better ideas.

Teachers Change Lives by Getting Kids to Think Critically

A great teacher knows how to help children move past their initial reactions into critical thinking. As kids learn to think critically, they gain a greater global perspective. They learn to make carefully thought through decisions. My oldest daughter Emma is on her second year of teachers who place the children into book groups according to reading ability. Since reading is Emma’s strength, her group reads a lot of thought-provoking books. Reading these books with her peers is teaching Emma to question assumptions she makes about people and the world around her.

Teachers Change Lives by Encouraging Communication

Being creative and thinking critically is wonderful, but you need to be able to communicate your ideas to someone else. This is especially true in a collaborative environment. Teachers often teach their students to communicate effectively with their peers – an incredibly useful life lesson.

Teachers Change Lives by Encouraging Communication

My children can be very quiet and shy, but they have each had teachers who helped them work past this to communicate. My daughter Lily rarely spoke in preschool and kindergarten. Then she had a truly brilliant first grade teacher. During an open house, her teacher came up, and asked her a question. She then added, “I need to check on something over there, and then I will be back to hear your answer.” By giving Lily time to think of an answer without any pressure, this teacher opened the door to communication. Lily had an amazing first grade year, and she continues to thrive in second grade.

Teachers Change Education Through Constant Reflection and Innovation

I am incredibly grateful for the life skills that my family has learned from their teachers, who continually experiment with new ways to help their students have fun learning.

How have you seen great teachers change lives?

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

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