How Students Define Inspiring Teachers and Teaching Excellence

“Just be yourself”.  What does that mean in the context of teaching?  When I was in my TESL program many years ago, there was a very outgoing, guitar-playing young man in the course.  He was vibrant, fun and obviously musically –talented.  I thought that he was “cool” and imagined what a great teacher he would be. 

Instead of looking at what I had to offer as a teacher, I started thinking about what I didn’t have to offer.  In hindsight, I wanted to be something that I was not.  I recently told my TESL students that story.  At the end I said “you just need to be yourself”.  They loved the story and were grateful for this advice.

What I am trying to say is that we can only be who we are.  After one of my teaching practicums many years ago, the mentor teacher said that I was like a “warm blanket”.  I never understood what that meant until years later.  I was just...

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