Great Credentials Do Not a Great Teacher Make

This blog is a follow-up to the one I posted yesterday:

NOTE to all of my GREAT teacher friends: This EXCLUDES YOU! So if the shoe doesn’t fit, please don’t wear it :)

I have observed this particular phenomenon for a while now. My youngest daughter attends a dance studio here in town. She’s been taking  dance classes for 5 years now and we’ve changed studios twice. I see in today’s topic  a disturbing trend and one that not too many people want to discuss. Did you know that as teachers we have the potential to mentor our students? Let me define the word mentor-

MENTO’RIAL, a. [from Mentor,the friend and adviser of Ulysses.]

Containing advice or admonition.


When I went to school there were a few teachers that I still remember well. They were not only interested in doing their job to impart knowledge to me. They went a step further and  mentored me. Yes, I understand that in the large classroom sizes of today, that is difficult.  Back then, our class size  ranged around 25 kids per teacher, and some of these fine teachers I had took the extra time with me .

The one characteristic that stands out the most of my teachers that I remember with great affection is that they were there to set the right example for me. So naturally I was under the notion that a good teacher can be a great role model. And  I see this quality lacking in a lot of the teachers at my daughter’s dance studio.

The students are required to adhere by a strict dress code and yet the dance instructors shows up in whatever they felt like wearing to class that day. Many times I’ve wondered if they even ran a comb through their hair before they left the house. Why bother with the dress code then? That was what all 3 of my daughters asked me when they were all taking classes. I could hear the frustration in their voices and I saw how the teacher not following her own rules demoralizes her students.

Another great quality that all of my favorite teachers possessed was that they respected me not only as their student but also as a human being. They never talked down to me or made me feel less than the child I was.  I have lost track of the times my girls have come home from a dance class, completely discouraged because of a callous tongue, icy disposition or indifferent attitude from their dance instructor. When I addressed this issue with the owner of the studio, she just blew it off and assured me that my girls needed to “toughen up” because this is how it goes in the the dance world!

I laughed at that because my girls are pretty tough cookies already who can hold their own. The owner proceeded  to tell me about the credentials of the teachers there and that they were “lucky” to be trained by  professionals with such clout. Really?

So it’s acceptable to be a nasty teacher with a mean temper just because you trained at Julliard and danced with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater? I was far from impressed and I let her know it. Folks, how can teachers demand respect from their students when they are not setting the right examples for them to follow. Children look to their superiors for guidance and if non is offered they turn a deaf ear.

Teaching is not just another job you  show up to  so you can collect your paycheck . If you don’t care a hill of pinto beans about children, if children repulse you and if you have zero tolerance for them, then perhaps you need to find your true calling. Teaching is a higher calling like that of being a parent; that’s why it’s so undervalued and under paid.

This post is dedicated to all the wonderful teachers I had throughout my school years:

Sister Margaret- St. Francis School- 1st grade

Ms. Mary  Ellen McClellan- St. Francis School-3rd Grade

Ms. Molly Gillard-St. John’s- 6th Grade

Mrs. Carol Kane-Bitburg American Middle School (BAMS)-6th Grade

Mrs. Reece- BAMS-7thGrade

Mr. James- BAMS- 8th Grade

Mrs. Betty Meyers-BAMS- 8th Grade

Mr. Griffin– Marshall High School10th Grade

Ms. Andermatt- Marshall High School-11th Grade

Mr. Walter Collis- Marshall High School- 11th,12th Grades

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication! I never forgot how much you cared.

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