I'm not a teacher, but I have been a student for a while now...here are some things that have impacted my life more than the teacher could have known:
1)NEVER EVER tell a student that he/she will never understand something. I know this seems obvious, but when I was in 10th grade my chemistry teacher told me that I would never understand chemistry and I shouldn't bother asking questions. (I can hear all of you fainting to the floor as I type). Guess what happened? I stopped asking questions and I didn't learn chemistry. That is, until I had a real-world experience AFTER college that made me realize I wanted to become a vet. And in two months, I will start my first year of vet school, with several semesters of advanced chemistry under my belt!
2)If you are so proud of a student that you want to cry, then cry. My 11th/12/grade English teacher would sit at her desk with tears of joy streaming down her face when students gave presentations. She told us all the time how proud she was of us and how smart we were and how the most important thing in the world was to love people and love learning. She was one of my most inspiring teachers. Her son is autistic. Her husband died of ALS last year. And she is still one of the most joyful people I know. Her name is Mrs. Green, and she is an English teacher at Brighton High School in Brighton, NY.
3)At the end of the year, make a list of things YOU have learned from your students. I had a college professor that did this, and she has won at least one teaching award every year since she started at Rice 5 years ago(Michele Hebl, Psychology, Rice U.). I remember how special it made me feel to watch her stand in front of a lecture hall of 80 students and tell US how awed and humbled she was to have such an amazing opportunity to teach us.
4) Laugh at yourself, and do it often. With the kids. It's more fun to have a teacher who seems human.
5) Go to performances and extra-curricular events that your students are in. During my sophomore year in college, I was in a very select singing group. The day after one of our performances that had not been very well-attended, my Physics professor, who was about 100 and had a reputation for being a real bear, handed back my quiz with a note at the top telling me how wonderful he had thought my performance was the day before. I think I failed the quiz, but I felt so honored that he had taken the time to recognize me outside of class.
I've been lucky to have some really awesome teachers...without some of them, I never would have gotten to where I am now!
Endurance comes from exhaustion. Keep running!
--DH, aka "Coach"