What does it take to be a great teacher today?

We’ve all been influenced by teachers. From grade school to professors, or even our mentors at summer jobs… they’ve all shaped and moulded us into the people we are today. TEACH is a new documentary by Academy Award-winning director, Davis Guggenheim, which explores education in America. You can watch the trailer below.

The doc premieres September 6 on CBS and September 14 on Pivot. You can learn more about the documentary and find out how you can help provide a brighter public education at takepart.com/teach.

Personally, I’m not currently enrolled in school, but the most powerful lessons have stayed with me after I’ve graduated. I’m talking about the teachers that find a way to reach out to children and inspire them to be more curious and thirsty for knowledge.

For the past year, I’ve been working as a tutor, and I’ve seen for myself how individual attention, practice and effort can make all the difference. Sadly, I’ve also seen another side which has opened my eyes to how public school is changing with budget cutbacks and crowded classrooms, and many children are struggling to get through class, never mind apply to university.

For me, grade eight is probably the hardest year. Students are in a transition from elementary to high school, and on the cusp of becoming full-fledged teenagers. And there’s one person that I can still remember from those times…Mme Bialowas. She was class 8B’s rock. She handled every situation with compassion for her students and was a friend, not just an educator. Many students, including myself were dealing with bullying and self-esteem, and one day, she took an hour to go around the room, saying nice things about each and every single student. Some were athletic, while some were academic… but she made everyone feel special about their talents and abilities, and you could almost feel the class’ anxieties and social hierarchy break down. For that afternoon, we were happy and felt loved by a teacher who didn’t just hand out worksheets. While some might think an event like this is insignificant, it proves that teachers care.

In my opinion, the greatest teachers were the ones that reached out to help at anytime and provided assistance beyond the classroom. I believe that in today’s society, with the advent of cyber bullying and negative advertising, we need to have teachers that are passionate about educating good kids, not just smart kids.

If you have a story about a teacher who stood out and made a difference in yourself or your child’s life, leave a comment below!

This article is sponsored by Participant Media (Pivot) but my opinions are 100 per cent my own.

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