What Makes Good Teachers Great? {Guest Post}

I have a special guest blogger today. She is a retired Teacher & Principal with over 40 years experience! I was thrilled with Denyse reached out to me to collaborate I agreed without hesitation, as I knew she'd have a wealth of knowledge to share. Would you believe she blogs every single day!?! This article is such a valuable addition to the Teacher Types blog.

Denyse has compiled a list of 10 things that make 'good' teachers 'GREAT'! And she should know!

Linking up with the awesome Jess for IBOT.

P.S. I've been described as one of those teachers with 'infectious enthusiasm'. If you know me in the real world do you agree? If you don't know me in the real world can you imagine the kind of person I am??


Good teachers are everywhere and, I hope, aspiring to be GREAT teachers.  From my 40+ years of experience as a K-6 Teacher, Deputy Principal and Principal these are some of the qualities of great teachers.

Great teachers are:

1. Those teachers who see each child as an individual with unique needs who has come to school with prior learning from home and the world around.

2. The ones who ensure that the learning program, via the required curriculum, is adaptable enough to help children learn in the style which suits best.

3. People who listen well, observe and make note of learning behaviours which may ascertain if a child needs further assistance in learning.

4. The professionals  who establish learning environments which encourage risk-taking and question-asking, adding possibilities for child-centred research in a safe and flexible setting.

5. Lifelong learners who will belong to professional networks, attend courses and be on the lookout for ways in which to improve their knowledge and skills.

6. Those people with infectious enthusiasm and passion for their profession who will informally mentor and encourage others.

7. Self-managing and monitoring of their health and will admit the need to take some rest time, family time and to care for themselves well so they will  bounce back with enthusiasm and energy.

8. Flexible and adaptable whilst ensuring that school and life rules are followed, there is flexibility to allow for spontaneous and on-the-spot learning.

9. Encouragers and nurturers of children who will grow and change within the year to ensure the readiness for the next stage of learning at school.

10. School and community team members and community knowing this  is the way to get the ‘best’ from everyone and to provide equitable learning so that ‘everyone gets a go’ to be ‘the best they can’.

About Denyse Whelan B.Ed. M.Ed.

Denyse is a now-retired K-6 Australian schooling educator who has been a K-6 teacher, deputy principal and school principal, university tutor, and ESL teacher.
She has more than 4 decades of experience as both an educator and parent in the Australian schooling system. She has worked in schools including the small 2 teacher schools in remote NSW, Central Schools K-12 in NSW, large Western Sydney K-6 Schools and her principal role  saw her manage a school with mainstream students, a special education support unit, 2 ‘opportunity classes’ (GAT) and an Autism Spectrum Satellite Classs
Denyse believes in life-long learning and that learning takes place formally and informally in our lives every day.

Denyse blogs about education each week here: www.denysewhelan.com.au
Follow her on twitter: @denysewhelan1  Facebook Page: denysewhelanblogs


  1. Thanks so much for having me here Lauren! Denyse

    1. Thank YOU Denyse :) you're post was fantastic - so well suited for my blog.

  2. Replies
    1. Yep! It's not just bell to bell like some people think. A very demanding (but rewarding) job.

    2. It certainly is I agree Lauren which is why 'once a teacher' always thinking of teaching, what's next, about the child who isn't doing so well...and much much more! One of the reasons I am blogging about education and schooling each week over at my blog is to hopefully build bridges of understanding between school and home. Denyse

  3. Ahh my 3 kids are blessed with fantastic teachers this year. And thinking about it, they all possess most of the above qualities. One of the teachers said to me (who has many years of experience) that "all children have good in them, even the naughty ones, you just have to find it." Thanks Denyse.

    1. So glad to year your kids have lovely teachers Lisa... and that quote is such an important one! We also have to remember that the 'naughty' children are often those who need us (teachers) the most.

    2. Thank you Lisa...and it is those kids who 'stand out' that we teachers need to wonder why and use our skills and training to help. Glad your kids have fantastic teachers this year! Denyse

  4. I had some excellent teachers that really worked to get the best out of everyone and some really poor ones that clearly hated kids and were just pulling in the pay cheque. Fingers crossed Miss L meets some of the former. A few good teachers are instrumental in shaping you, I think!

    1. It's nice to look back and remember your teacher's isn't it Beth?? I had some brilliant ones too! The worst though was my year 12 maths teacher who once said to our class "you all better start looking into TAFE courses because you're not getting into Uni"... WTF???

    2. I too have a teacher story of one who thought I wouldn't pass HSC German because I was at the beach instead of studying. I passed..and in her favour, she sent me a card of congrats! Denyse

  5. Denyse is such a wealth of knowledge isn't she? I'm sure many teachers have been inspired by her over the years.

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