What makes a good teacher?

Written on
August 30, 2019

What makes a good teacher?

For many years, I’ve often wondered what the key ingredients are.  We know we had them when we grew up, and some of them left a great impression that lasted years.  But, if you had to crystalize the precise attributes, it’s hard.  Is it charisma?  Enthusiasm or is it knowledge?  Consistency or personality?  I think we would all agree that it is definitely a mix of things, but the one that has stood out for me through the years is a bit different; Curiosity.  Whenever I’ve encountered a teacher or mentor that shared a strong inquisitiveness about their passion or field, it made them a better teacher.  Curiosity and a big imagination are in my opinion central to all we aspire to do.  We are all still children in many ways.  Just like kids, we find often the things we enjoy and sometimes pursue as a career are topics we are intrigued by and self-appointed students of.  

As we go through life, we often tend to gain interests and lose them in equal parts.  This is healthy!  It means we have what I call a “Continuous Learning Mindset”.  That mindset will enable each of us to grow and take on new and exciting challenges.  For some with many varied interests, we may never become masters of any domain, but passionate about so many that we keep beyond occupied.  For others, we burrow down into the niches and want to learn every finite detail about a narrow range of topics.  This difference has been pointed out in a memorable story of “The Hedgehog and the Fox.”.  

The best teachers I’ve had through life strike the balance of curious, often aloof, brilliant and funny.  What were yours like?  What was it about them that stayed with you for years?  

When I teach a course, or present to an audience, I’ve found that the only way I know how to do so is to just be myself.  Anything else feels unnatural and forced.  And when I connect, it is because I’ve let my guard down, shown passion for the topic, proposed a few wild ideas and engaged in great dialogue with the group.  What’s really great is when you can feel the energy in the room, people getting excited about learning and really having great conversations.  

If you or your team are looking for more education in cybersecurity, you’re in the right spot.  A few years ago, we opened up MeasuredRisk Academy to train cybersecurity and other skills to businesses and government agencies.  We continue to expand our course offerings and will soon be rolling out a whole host of digital classes from entry level to highly advanced.  Reach out if you or your team are looking to grow your foundation in cybersecurity.

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