chapter  32
4 Pages

Extraordinary Teachers

Friday Focus! April 1 When I was an undergraduate, I once confided to a favorite professor

that I was interested in becoming a teacher. He immediately re-

sponded, “And if you lose your passion for it, make a change. Prom-

ise?” I promised. (Granrose, 2001) Two Fridays ago, Bruce Cambigue mentioned something to me about the great myths of successful teaching as a potential Friday Focus topic. My curiosity was piqued by his reference, and I asked him about it. Bruce shared with me the book in which the above quote appears, Extraordinary Teachers, edited by Dr. Fred Stephenson (2001). I was going to steal the “great myths” theme as my FF topic, but in poring through this rich text, I was pulled to thievery of a different idea. Perhaps a future FF author will be moved to finally get to the “great myths of teaching” topic, but I was struck instead by a list of characteristics possessed by extraordinary teachers, and in particular by the number of references to “passion” as a must-have for effective teaching. In the introductory chapter, Stephenson indicates that through research, he has identified more than 300 different traits that distinguish excellent teachers. He condenses these into six key characteristics of extraordinary teachers (I particularly identified with characteristic #1): 1. Extraordinary teachers have great passion for their work.