Good Teaching

Husband and I have returned home from the Association for Play Therapy International Conference in Minneapolis, heavy laden with books,  therapeutic activities and games, puppets, sand tray miniatures, and Mindfulness card decks for ourselves and our daughter.  I got a great devil puppet, and Husband insisted that I needed a  pelican puppet, even though he couldn’t articulate why he thought that. I also got a wonderful toy farm, since I was unhappy with my current playroom farm.

Although the first presenter we heard was somewhat disappointing,  the presenters on the following days were quite wonderful.  They really great teachers, which means, to me, that they did more than just present the material.  They incorporated personal experience, humor, and theory, and communicated it in a manner that was forthright and understandable.

Good teachers are as rare as hens’ teeth  and as precious as rubies. I have been blessed with really good teachers in my life.

What do you think makes for a good teacher? Who have been your best teachers? What are you good at teaching?


32 thoughts on “Good Teaching”

  1. my best teachers are there to teach me when i am ready
    i have my own learning style and it requires me to be engaged. often times it’s me that is the key, they feel when i need the questions answered and we do the dance and i learn what they have to teach then we move on
    i often get back in touch and ask more later
    life is a learning process

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A good teacher explains WHY things are done or workout a certain way. I am a very good teacher of flooring installation. So here is an example of my teaching. Starting at the basics, you need clean, flat substrate. Why? Because

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Because irregularities will telegraph through the finished product. Also adhesives often fail to adhere to paint or worse, react and stain the finish.
      My best teacher was Mr. Berg. He taught high school economics. One buisness law class had only myself and my best friend as students. The three of us had a great time.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. have you looked him up?
        i had 3 or 4 special teachers and am still in touch with all of them. they are getting old but were only 22 when i was 14 or 15 so the ones with good genes still look good.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    The best teachers are rarely the most technically proficient, rather they are proficient in connecting with students and understanding how various students learn whatever their subject is. Often that is entirely intuitive. I have had many great teachers in my life. A lot of those occurred in my adulthood rather than during formal schooling.

    My best teacher was in High Scool Band (and he was also my Sunday School teacher for 6 years), Joe Brice. I stil am in touch with him. The worst teachers are into control and shame. I had some of those, too. They are best forgotten.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I am a good teacher of folk dance (I think), partly because I can vividly remember what it was like to be a beginner. My problem in teaching is wanting to please everyone, and so my ego gets in the way at times. If I can just forget all that and “go into the dance” (be present), I do fine.

    I’ve learned teaching is more successful if I can catch the student when s/he is curious about something – actually wants to learn it, rather than the school model of “teaching” everyone at the same time, whether they’re interested or not.

    OT: Moving day for Friend, see you tonight.


  5. Nice Renee. I like the pelican puppet too. Must there be a reason you need one?? 🙂
    I agree, the best teachers connect with the students in some ways and especially, don’t belittle you.
    I’m good at working with the students that come through the shop and haven’t used power tools before. Course they have to be receptive to learning. It doesn’t help if they don’t want to listen. (Guilty of that myself).
    Currently, I am very thankful that the English class I am enrolled in, “Critical Reading and Writing 1” is teaching me so much about so much OTHER stuff as a process of learning how to read critically. We started with Malcolm X. I didn’t know much about him. Then we read about Amy Tan and standard American English and wrote papers on that. Followed by an article by Mike Rose and how “Students will rise to the expectations you set for them” and then articles by Carol Dweck and how learning helps grow your brain. Really fascinating stuff.
    I am really enjoying this teacher!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My best teacher in Ames (K through all of high school) was Mary M, a plump, pretty, friendly English teacher who also was my homeroom teacher. I didn’t think much about her after getting to college, but I always considered her the teacher who inspired me to enjoy reading and writing.

    Decades later I was surprised–stunned, actually–to learn that one of my classmates became close to Mary M. My friend, desperate to escape an alcoholic and abusive husband, sought Miss M’s help. At a time when she could have lost her job for this, our former teacher loaned my friend enough money to get away. My friend learned that our teacher was able to date men, drink in bars and have a covert sex life. She would have been fired for doing those things in Ames but was clever enough to keep her private life out of public view until she fell in love and got married.

    Learning about her secret life made me appreciate her all the more.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Best teacher was the photography teacher who taught 3 of my photography classes: Mr. S. (although we called him by his first name.) Mr. S. knew his stuff backwards and forwards, yet was never condescending. Was the most patient teacher I’ve ever known, always willing to answer any question and make sure the students understood things, in class and out. Never was bothered if you didn’t “get it,” just would help you until you did get it. Was encouraging. His criticism of your work made you understand how you could have done it better. Two years later, I feel like I’m still learning from him (I’m not a fast learner.)

    I will admit that the motivation for me to learn from him was quite high.

    What can I teach? I don’t know. These days those people to whom I want to teach something don’t want to be taught. I guess irritation with their habits isn’t a good motivation for teaching. Ha!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. OT – Thought this might be of interest to some baboons.

    This fall Penumbra invites stories about what America looks, feels, and sounds like for each of us, and about what we dream it can become. Sponsored by MPR News, My America will reveal our mutual dreams, fears, losses, and desires through the power of personal narrative. We call upon Minnesotans from across the entire state to speak-from Frogtown to Bemidji, Del Sol to Austin-because hearing one voice share one story plants the seeds of empathy that will grow a more inclusive tomorrow.

    Submit your story of America at Entries can take on many forms of creative writing including first-person storytelling, poetry, and monologues. Submissions will be read and reviewed by a panel of local artists, activists, and journalists; twelve finalists will be announced in January.

    Over three weekends in January and February 2018, the finalists will work closely with our artists-in-residence to workshop their narratives as they prepare to take center stage. At Let’s Talk: My America on March 12, 2018, finalists will share their stories at a live event recorded by MPR News. Finalists will also receive a cash prize upon project completion.

    Open call for submissions start today. The deadline to submit your story is November 17, 2017. For additional info, visit

    Sponsored by MPR News. Supported in part by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. To me, a good teacher is someone who is passionate about their subject matter, and can transmit that passion to their students. Some of the best teachers I’ve had could teach what I considered boring stuff and make it fascinating and interesting. Unfortunately, I’ve also had a few teachers who could and did the opposite.

    I discovered early on, that I could learn almost anything, didn’t matter how difficult or challenging it was, so long as I was interested in it and curious about it. Conversely, I’ve been unable to learn stuff that neither the teacher nor I couldn’t generate any enthusiasm for. But, now that I think about it, some of the best teachers I’ve had weren’t in a classroom.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hey Kids–

    I’m getting the carpel tunnel micro-surgery done tomorrow, Tuesday. Both wrists. Should be no big deal… I have taken the whole day off work though, just because. Heck, I might take Wednesday off too! And Thursday and Friday is MEA so there’s no classes here…

    I’ll let you know if I can play the violin when it’s over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s when a bidet comes in handy. Funny how your mind went straight to the toilet, tim. Mine went straight to the dinner table. No hands, how do you eat?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Putting on my watch when my hand cramps up is an issue. So is buckling my jeans and tying my shoes. Not to mention holding a pencil or typing. Or eating.


  11. The benefit of the micro surgery is ass-wiping isn’t an issue. Neither is eating or typing. One small 5/16″ incision on each wrist.
    Because it’s fairly new to Mayo yet, I have to prepare for regular full-blown surgery, so nothing to eat after midnight and in the regular OR and all that. (in case things go horribly wrong) And scheduling took forever because both the regular hand surgeon and the micro surgeon have to be there. Still Out-patient though. The goal is to have this done in the office. I’m willing to be one of the guinea pigs.


  12. A good teacher is someone who facilitates you learning at your pace, in a way that works for you. They excite curiosity in things that you didn’t even know you were curious about. They make you feel like you are capable of doing anything that you set your mind to…


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