I have been very grateful to have many great teachers in my life. They served as my mentors during my developmental years. They also taught me many invaluable lessons, guided me to see the world a little differently, and got me excited about the topics they wanted to share.

Great teachers spread their infectious energy, and help you to believe in an optimistic reality so you can continue to build upon it. When I look back and try to figure out why I loved these teachers so much, I see that there are some common qualities they all shared.

They are immensely knowledgeable. Teachers must be knowledgeable. That’s a given. They must be able to simplify complicated concepts so that students can digest them, comprehend them, and understand why these concepts are important. I remember my pharmacokinetics professor could often transform mind-boggling concepts so they seemed basic. Great teachers can call on different tools to explain difficult concepts and make them fun.

They are passionate in sharing their knowledge. Great teachers also need to be passionate. If they aren’t passionate about sharing their knowledge, it won’t get their students interested. You can tell by the way they speak, share their examples, and share their experience. You can feel it in everything. Their passion must be infectious so that students also get excited about learning.

They instill a sense of purpose. Great teachers also instill a sense of purpose in their students. It is not enough to be knowledgeable and passionate about sharing their knowledge. Great teachers understand that each student needs to find a purpose in learning so that they are also inspired to learn more. Great teachers clearly show their students why learning is important.

They believe in their students. Another important quality of a great teacher is that they believe in their students. When compliments come from the teacher, it really helps to boost the students’ confidence and self esteem. And this will help build a foundation for facing everything else in life. That doesn’t mean they should falsely say that things will be easy, but they should emphasize that with perseverance, the journey will be fruitful in the long run.

They believe you have the answer. A few years ago, my boss (who is also my mentor/teacher) noticed that I was struggling with how to handle my employees. Instead of giving me a simple solution, she just told me she believed in me and knew that I would handle the situation well. She actually didn’t give me any direction, but she gave me the confidence to follow my own instincts. She taught me the importance of listening to my own voice, as it often guides me in difficult situations. Since then, I have learned to listen closely to my own voice, my instinct, and my gut. Every single time, it has been able to give me important insight that no one else can.

Everyone can be a teacher. But to be an impactful one, you need many qualities that may not always be present in every teacher. When I have found one who possesses all of those qualities, and is able to help me gain knowledge, cultivate my skills, and grow to be a better person, I am forever grateful.

And when it is my turn to give back, I do my best to be a great teacher to the next generation of students as well.

Thank you to all the teachers whom I am grateful to have in my learning journey. Because of you, I am who I am today. And because of your efforts, I have developed a mindset to become an eternal learner in life and everything else.

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  • Cynthia Leung

    Clinical Pharmacist, Blogger & Influencer, Educator and Speaker

    A pharmacist by training who has developed a passion in writing. She enjoys sharing her view in life and wellness. Through her writings, she hopes to help others to discover the best in them, to inspire them to spread compassion and contribute something beautiful to this world. She also has her own blog (www.drugopinions.wordpress.com) that focuses on sharing her knowledge in medications and to inspire the community to engage in safe medication use.