Thanks to a tweet this morning by @angusdav I came across a great article in The Atlantic about "one of the most stunning findings to come out of education research in the past decade." Here is the punchline: "more than any other variable in education — more than schools or curriculum — teachers matter."
So that leads to the question what makes a great teacher? (It's the title of the article).
Here are some qualities of great teachers that the article highlights:
- "Relentless mind-set"
- "History of perseverance - not just an attitude but a track record"
- "Grit - defined as perseverance and a passion for long term goals"
- "Life satisfaction" which is later defined as enthusiasm - a zeal for life which is contagious. "The best teachers are more adept at engaging their pupils."
The article struck a chord because, as a venture capitalist, I look for such traits in entrepreneurs every day. It also resonated because my brother is a great high school teacher whose work I've admired for years. I've always thought, even when we were kids, that he would make a great entrepreneur - and the article helped connect the dots.
Then when I thought about it, people with such characteristics make a difference in ANY endeavor. I would wager that if you did similar research in any field, you would find that a very small number of people make all the difference in the world. Across all fields, there will be common traits among the super-stars and such traits won't be far off from the ones outlined above.