10 Traits of a Great Teacher

Better said than I could have.


Teaching is one of the most important professions in every country in the world.  It determines personal and national development in every sphere of activity.  There are good and bad teachers who inspire or demotivate students.  One has to be careful in selecting teachers since they can either improve or hinder the instructional process.  Fortunately, most teachers show commitment to the task.  After considering various literature reviews and my own experience as a former principal, I have chosen the following 10 traits which are shared by  most great teachers.  Of course any serious teacher can develop these traits.  This is not an exhaustive list of the traits or characteristics of a great teacher, by any means.

1.  Great teachers know their subject(s) and the curriculum very well.  They plan and prepare their lessons thoroughly and set very clear learning goals and objectives for each lesson.

2.  They are highly committed to the education of…

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The best movie of 2013 was “12 years a slave”. It is a well told story with wonderful cinematography. The material covered is apart of American history and was necessary to be told. The beauty and tragedy of the story is that it is not fictional. It is the true story of one man and allegory of many. In telling the story the filmmaker presented the complexity, brutality and the tragedy that was the life of Africans in “slave” America. The representations of violence are not gratuitous, but instructive and do not feel contrived. They do however have you asking why and how? Why did slavery exist in a country that professed equality of all men and how was this system justified for so long? Gladly no attempt was made to answer those questions.

The power of the story can be seen in the reaction of the Africans to their loss of self-determination. The over simplified version is that there were two types of enslaved, the demoralized and the resistant. The demoralized made peace with enslavement and would not resist because he had seen the lot that fell upon those who resisted. While the resistant would continue to resist in spite of the consequences even to his death. The story of loss of freedom is tragic, but illustrates well the fleeting nature of physical freedom. The main character was betrayed by the trust that exists that allows free societies to function effectively. The trust that ensures that all are treated ethically and are equal under the law.

This is a wonderful movie that should not be missed. See it with your children. Make it a community event. Discuss it openly. The essential truth is the revelation that our physical possessions cannot keep us from bondage. The only freedom is that of the mind. The ability to move freely is significant, but the freedom to think as one likes is vital to the establishment a fully free society.


The slow climb of the fog over the hillside was fascinating to watch. Sitting in a rocking chair on a wide veranda was almost comforting. However, I was in a hurry to leave town before I had to make any more decisions. The smell of rot was deep in my lung and the feeling of isolation heightened with every passing minute. The sun tried to rise about the fog but it seems as if the fog had a mind of its own. It was as if it was racing to catch up with the rising sun. There was a race to keep an eternal dawn. I could see the problem but the beauty of the orange sun piercing the white fog was irresistible. I stood there and enjoyed the view for much too long. Enjoying the view distracted me from the facts, I was fired from my own project.

I was so distracted by the beauty before me that I did not hear the low whine of the electric scouter until it was just meters in front of me. I noticed the flash of orange against the thick white of the approaching fog. Her hair was red-orange and floated like streams of diluted red ink in a fast flowing river. Marcia was in a hurry. As she jumped off the scouter and ran into the house she shouted, not quite intelligibly, for me to come into the house. I had never seen her in such a state, so I dutifully followed her. She disappeared into the darkness of the house as I closed the door. She was still shouting and I still could not understand what she was trying to tell me.

As I tried to understand her I heard a high-pitched whistle. I turned and opened the door and notice that the fog had moved with a 100 meters of the house. What was creating the noise was not clear. As I stood there a sharp, small blob hit me on the left cheek and without thinking I slapped my face and crushed the small device. I instantly recognized what I was seeing and her babble became intelligible. It was our creation. It was a cloud of nano-bots. I slammed the door shut and for a second was paralyzed by questions. My back was pressed into the door and my eye fixed on the clock about the archway to the dinner room. The second-hand seemed to be moving in slow motion. I had many questions. Who is controlling them? We had designed the system to be a directed cloud. I did not notice, but I was shouting. I could see Marcia running about but I could not hear what she was saying. I felt my body move but had no control. I was moving without purpose then suddenly there was a loud bang and my brain started to function. I pinched myself and it hurt. This is not a dream. I started to see and hear her. From the clock only about twenty seconds had passed.

Marcia slammed the back door shut and started to spray silicon sealant around the door. My daze lifted and I grabbed the canister Marcia offered me and started sealing the door and windows. We got all the windows and doors and them focused on the few bot units that had gotten into the house. Being apart of a hive brain they were lost outside of the cloud so they were easily destroyed. As Marcia caught her breath she started to tell me that an experiment had gone bad and the nano-bots had escaped. It must have shown on my face, since Marcia tried to comfort me. She knew what I was thinking. We did not design autonomous bots, so who is controlling them?


The gentle shake that awoken me became a loud bang and turned into a cascade of light and sound. I did not feel any pain but my head was spinning and I could see my glasses vibrating to a quarter note beat. The tremor became a staccato as I watched my glasses slide off the desk toward the floor. I did not see it hit the floor because the ringing in my left ear was so distracting. As I cupped my ear I could feel my heartbeat in my head. I could not think, but I was sure I was dreaming.

I tended to have vivid dreams but had gotten really good at directing them into something more pleasant. This time all my attempts at direction fell short without any effect on the trajectory of events. I was supposed to be in the safest city in the world and there was no earthquake threat, so I was confused  as to what I was experiencing. I felt alone with my thoughts, but out my right ear I could hear a faint whine. The whine was unmistakable, it was the sound of a helicopter starting up.

The whine cracked the code. I was in a hotel on the waterfront next to the largest heliport in the city. At anytime there would be thirty to forty aircraft and it sounded as if they were all starting up. The ringing in my ear was deafening and made it hard to concentrate. I just tried to breathe. It seemed as if time stood still, then I found myself on the floor. The ringing in my ear had disappeared, but all around me was a blur. I could not feel my glasses and I felt some relief. I called out and someone answered. It was a nurse and she informed me that I was in the safe house and that my op was a bust. I was disappointed.