Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

What makes a great teacher?

As we approach the time to announce the ABTA Master Point Press Bridge Teacher of the Year for 2011 I started to think about what makes a great teacher.

Perhaps my greatest experience with a teacher was my daughter’s second and third grade teacher, Mrs. Jones.  On one parents’ night we all came to her classroom and sat in the tiny desks.  The room was dimly lit and filled with the student’s work.  There were candles; lovely music was playing.  Mrs. Jones started off with these words; “Your children are wonderful.”  Right there she had us all. She taught organization and research (yes, they were in Grade 2).  She taught the children the idea of exploring and thinking.  During the summer she wrote to them and they wrote back to her.  She was a truly great teacher.  She impacted her student’s lives and I know that my daughter, Jennifer, Ray and I will never forget her.

So what makes a great teacher?

Clearly passion for teaching is the most important thing.  To do brilliantly at anything you must have passion.  It doesn’t matter whether the teacher is earnest, jumps around the room, or wears funny hats.  There are many ways to engage people and to have passion.

Love of subject is so very important.   When you love what you teach your enthusiasm spills over to your students.  Bridge is not about memorizing rules.  It is about the joy of getting to a good slam, making a challenging contract or finding the ruff that defeats the contract.  Sharing that joy is what makes some bridge teacher’s great.

A desire to learn and grow is needed in today’s fast moving world.  If you teach bridge you do need to keep up with the changing world of our game.   Whether it is bidding systems and conventions, new ideas in card play, changing rules and regulations in competitive bridge, new books and ideas or even new ways to teach our game is changing.  The computer, the internet, social media, (blogs) and other things all change the way we enjoy our game.  Teacher’s need to move with the times.

There are many other things too of course such as organization, a strong work ethic, a deep knowledge of the material taught and so on.  I found these ideas on a website when young students were asked what makes good teachers.  It is true for adults too.

  • Good teachers treat their students with respect
  • Good teachers are honest
  • Good teachers have creative ways of presenting class
  • Good teachers get to know their students individually
  • Good teachers stand up for their students
  • The eight bridge teachers we will be honoring for Teacher of the Year all meet these very challenging criteria.  Their students will talk about the way that they become their friends, care about them, present the material in original ways, help them with their problems, encourage them to take the next step, make their classes interesting and fun.  These teacher our very important to their students and all of bridge because they bring their skills, their knowledge and their passion for bridge and for teaching to so many new players.

    The nominees this year are:

    Linda King and Lyde McReynolds from California, Richard Early from Ohio, Gerry Lachance form Ontario Canada, Kathie Walsh from South Carolina, David Glandorf and Mary Jane Orock from Texas and Jill McCormick from Nova Scotia, Canada.

    Best wishes to all of them.  They have won already.


    Ray LeeJuly 15th, 2011 at 9:39 am

    During my 30-odd years in educational publishing, I was fortunate enough to meet many good teachers, and some great teachers. Mrs. Jones was one of the very best, and I know Jen will never forget her, or what she taught her in those two magical years.

    Andre Bovee-Begun » Blog ArchiveJuly 18th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    […] Articles on the Teacher of the Year What makes a great teacher? […]

    TibbieNovember 25th, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I feel so much happier now I unsdretand all this. Thanks!

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