What makes a successful teacher?
By: Ashely Robinson
What makes a successful teacher? Teaching is one of the most complicated jobs today. It demands enthusiasm, a caring attitude, a love of learning, and a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people. If you ask a student what makes him or her successful in school, you probably won’t hear about some great new textbook or the newest technology to supplement instruction. Most likely you will hear something like, “It was all Mr. Davis. He pushed me and never gave up on me.”
What students usually take away from a successful education centers on the personal connection they made with a teacher, who instilled passion and inspiration for their subject area. It is difficult to measure success. However, I interviewed two members of Profound Gentlemen who we consider successful teachers to get an exclusive look at their experiences of being great in the classroom.
I interviewed two teachers one teaching in North Carolina and the other in South Carolina. Both young male educators in different subject areas that could tell us what inspired them to be educators and their most successful moments in the classroom. I asked some questions about when did they begin teaching and what are makes them successful. Each gave compelling stories that highlight and describe the drive and tools that make them such successful teachers.
How did you start in Education?
Nicholas: My first exposure to working in education was while attending Freedom School the summer of 2015 as a level three intern working with students from grades 7th-9th.
Robert: I always played school growing up, and I come from a family of educators. This drove me to go to school for education because it has always been my passion and it is truly my calling.
When do your passion for teaching begin?
Nicholas: I didn’t really know until 2015 while working with scholars that I had a passion for teaching.
Robert: I have always had a passion for education starting as a child.
What does success mean to you?
Nicholas: Going to work everyday and loving what you do no matter what happens. Somedays don’t get me wrong is rough working with students. I live to serve my kids and with dealing with students with difficult backgrounds. As opposed to working a typical 9-5, I rather be working with my students. Service is the core root of being a successful educator. You have to LOVE what you do. I never want to work somewhere where I dread to come to work everyday. My mood is changed by the sight of my scholars everyday. I am happy and content with my job.
Robert: I measure success by if my students have mastered the content because it is not everyday that they will get it. When I see a child has struggled and learned to understand, that is success to me. When I see the lightbulb go off in a student that is how I measure my success.
What was your most successful moment in the classroom?
Nicholas: A few weeks back after the Keith Scott shooting, I engaged in conversation with my scholars. We had an organic conversation that was filled with lots of emotion and real conversation with the students. It showed how the students took everything they learn in the classroom and outside to build conversation around a touching subject. It broke down the barrier of the teacher and student relationship allowing for us to have an open and honest conversation. I will never forget that moment because after having that conversation it helped them feel like I can relate to my teacher past the classroom setting. It also helped build a better relationship between the scholars and I. It was one of the dopest experiences with the students I’ve had in the classroom to date.
Robert: Whenever I have a child enter that is not engaged and shows a lack of passion then later seeing them grow is my most successful moment. It’s getting them from their low and bringing them to their high and just watching them grow. I love to see the child’s love for learning begin.
How do you use your Profound Additional Impact in your work?
Nicholas: By talking to other black male educators and seeking advice is how I definitely utilize my Profound additional impact in my work. Sometimes, it is not a walk in the park connecting with students. It allows for a think tank with other profound gentlemen and black male educators help, that you have someone to talk to and get insight. Having my mentor be a member as well helps motivate me to help push my students and it makes it much easier to get through the difficult times.
Robert: By Teaching to the whole child and engage students in life outside the classroom. On Mondays, we talk about sports with the young men and with the young ladies we talk about high and low self esteem. I make sure I can reach them beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Nicholas Bratcher is a Reach Teacher Associate at Ransom IB Middle school in Charlotte, NC. Robert Harris began teaching in 2014 and is a Family consumer science and English teacher at Hand Middle School in Columbia, SC.