Thursday, May 7, 2015

What Makes a Great Teacher? Summit Teachers Share

Our teachers are the backbone and the heart of our schools. They work tirelessly to ensure that each student is reaching their potential, is individually supported, is deeply learning and engaged, as well as building authentic and meaningful relationships. And, they do this with care, compassion, commitment and, simply love. 

They also have a passion for the craft of teaching. They work hard at becoming a better teacher, mentor, leader, and thoughtful, contributing member of society. They dedicate themselves to individually supporting and understanding each student both inside and outside the classroom. And, they leave a lasting impression on their students, truly helping to make the world a better place one student at a time.

In honor of our amazing teachers and this week’s Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked our teachers “What Makes A Great Teacher?” Here's what they have to say. These statements embody what our teachers are doing each and every single day.

“Love. Deep, critical love. Love so deep and critical that you see students and say to yourself, 'how can we do and be better for you today in order to achieve your dreams?'”
-Aukeem Ballard, Summit Prep

“A great teacher values taking the time to build relationships with students. In order to figure out how students learns best, teachers need to know what motivates them, how they handle stress and setbacks, what they like and don’t like about school or the course, and how they are impacted by their learning environment. Learning these things about a student takes patience and involves building a lot of trust, but the impact it has on knowing how to support each student in the classroom is REALLY exciting.”
-Katie Goddard, Summit Rainier

"You love your students, you always do what's best for them and never stop improving on your practice."
- Brian Johnson, Summit Denali

“A great teacher is one who can make mistakes in front of the students and is real with them. This teacher encourages building authentic community in the classroom and values where each students comes from.“
- Nanor Balabanian, Everest

“A great teacher is someone who is passionate, committed, and able to roll with the punches. A great teacher is passionate about the subject and skills they teach and is able to make it engaging for students to become just as invested in the subject matter as they are. A great teacher is also incredibly committed to his/her students. They take the time to learn about the whole child, not just how they are as a student in their class. A great teacher is flexible and always finds a learning opportunity in even the toughest situation.”
- Shilpa Duvoor, Summit K2

“Great teachers aren't made. Great teachers are in the making. They, like their students, are constantly learning, changing, and growing. One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite coaches sums it all up: "No written word, no spoken plea, Can teach our youth what they should be. Nor all the books on all the shelves, It's what the teachers are themselves," by John Wooden.
- Erica Baba, Everest

“A great teacher is passionate about both the social-emotional development and academic growth of students. A great teacher collects and uses a ton of data to inform practice, but remembers that at the end of the day the work is with individuals and it is the individual that matters. A great teacher has a hunger for searching out and implementing the best research based practices that she can find.”
- Ron Delaney, Summit Denali

“I believe that a great teacher is able to efficiently and accurately assess individual student's developmental needs and then through strategic lessons, encouragement, and support, works like mad to meet the specific needs of the students.”
- Rick LaTorra, Summit Shasta

“True learning can only be accomplished when content and projects can resonate deeply with students on a personal level. A great teacher both understands that and works actively to encourage students to make those connections. This teacher is one who creates the safest, most inclusive environment for learning by acknowledging the unique perspective of a diverse group of learners. Through this trusting and safe classroom, this teacher allows opportunities for students to not only grow and develop academically, but also to develop pride in their cultural background and personal story."
- Cady Ching, Summit Prep

"A great teacher ensures that the teaching and learning taking place in the classroom extend beyond the four walls of institutionalized education, so that students can become effective agents of change in their own lives and the lives of their family and community. A great teacher has the ability to empower others with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed within the larger sociopolitical contexts. A great teacher has the unique opportunity to positively influence our youth, which in turn positively influences our collective future."
- Julio Navarate, Summit Tahoma

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