The Most Important Qualities of an Outstanding Educator

Sooooo, this is my response to the following prompt on my job application.  I welcome suggestions!

The prompt:

We are interested in your ability to organize and express thoughts on a specific topic in a succinct manner. Please select one of the following topics and write an essay in the space provided on this page.

  1. The Most Important Qualities of an Outstanding Educator

My response:

A truly outstanding educator asks more of her students than they do of themselves, for she sees in them qualities they’ve never dreamed of possessing. However, she has these high expectations with reasonable concessions; she will, for example, give her students time to begin their homework in class, knowing well the demands of after-school jobs, sports, and activities.  She will even support students in some of these ventures by attending (or even coaching!) their sporting events and other activities, such as Science Olympiad or History Day.  She understands that in spite of her four-year education at a university and her bachelor’s degree, she still has much to learn, and that her students will have much to teach her.  She understands that each student will have his or her own preexisting beliefs about her and the subject she teaches, and she knows that part of her job is giving each student a fresh perspective on both. By the end of her first couple weeks of teaching, she knows all of her students’ names, career aspirations, interests, and learning styles. She creates in her classroom an atmosphere of mutual respect.  She must be able to think on her feet, for she won’t be even able to imagine the questions (both relevant and irrelevant) she will be asked. She must have a sense of humor (it will come in handy when things go wrong with technology, weather, et cetera), and she must encourage respectful humor in her students while nipping hurtful or distasteful humor in the bud.  She must be cool in a crisis, no matter how large or small it may be.  She should try to infuse fun into every lesson, and she must attempt to make each and every assignment relevant to her students if at all possible.  Each of her lessons should follow the state/national standards so her students can perform well on the standardized exams that will decide their futures.  She should teach not only to these standards, but she should also include relevance to the “real world” in her lessons.  These, in my opinion, are the qualities that describe an outstanding educator.

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