How to Be an Outstanding Teacher: Plinky Prompts Thursday

Welcome back to another round of Plinky Prompts Thursday! If you’re just tuning in for the first time, each week I will select a writing prompt from and post it every Thursday for your viewing pleasure.

This week’s prompt, however, is surprisingly not from Plinky.


THAT'S not a Plinky Prompt!

Yes, Denny…that’s right.  This week’s prompt is from another source, outside of Plinky.  It’s short, it’s brief, and it’s to the point.  Please don’t keep me from watching reruns of Boston Legal, okay?

I’m currently in the process of applying for substitute teaching jobs in the area.   With any application process, there will inevitably be a few questions which require writing samples from the applicants.  My teaching application is no different.  The paperwork requires three different “essays” to be answered, and I completed one yesterday, just in time for Plinky Prompts Thursday.  So, with no further delay, I present to you…the prompt:

Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.

In life, when you are passionate about an endeavor, you pursue a course of action which directly leads you closer to that interest. To become a professional in any type of venture, constant practice is required to hone your skills and become a master at your craft. To excel, you must be willing to accept advice and constantly yearn to learn more. One cannot be a source of inspiration to others without experience and true passion.

Teachers, like any other skilled artists, must combine their experiences with passion to foster an outstanding classroom environment. They must serve as eager encyclopedias to their students, willing to share knowledge on a specific content area with enthusiasm and spirit. They must act as optimistic fortune tellers, constantly encouraging students onward to success through realization their own potential.

Educators must also be active practitioners in their field of study. Students are extremely accurate esteem barometers; they offer respect when respect is due. Young mind are more inspired to learn when their instructors exude a professional work ethic, constantly sharpen their skills, and continue to cultivate their talents.

To teach, you must inspire…but to inspire, you must teach with enthusiasm, which is an attribute all outstanding educators must possess. Students thrive off of ardent mentors who embody excitement and zest. Of all the hats a teacher must wear, the role of “inspiration advocate” is one of the most important. You must be willing to proudly share your love of learning with your students, who will undoubtedly recognize a teacher with true passion and devotion for what they do.

Well, what do you think?  I’m very open to suggestions on how to improve my response, since this will be my official “Hi-there-and-hello” to my perspective employers.  What could I add?  What could I subtract?  And should I insert a portfolio of my Stick Figure Movie Reviews along with it?!?  What say you, William Shatner?



That’s what I thought you’d say…


16 responses to this post.

  1. DO IT! I say include the stick figure Movie Review. It says “She’s a little crazy…crazy creative!”


  2. Posted by carshissbymywindow on January 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that response. If I was going through essays and I read that, I would think this person has their ducks in a row when it comes to teaching. That essay would be going to the top of the pile. Well written.


  3. “To teach, you must inspire…but to inspire, you must teach with enthusiasm”

    Love this line!

    I think you got the job. I’d hire you anyway. 🙂 Is there a certain grade you will sub for?


  4. Posted by John Pablo on January 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I love this post 🙂 my family is full of teachers!
    I think you’ll get this job, someone will surely be lucky to have you as an educator!

    Stop by my blog sometime, I’m super new and trying to figure it out =/


  5. I’ve always hated having to write letters like these. I constantly put my fist in the air and railed against the system of hoop jumping so necessary to getting anywhere. My mentor always told me to get over it and just play the game. The letter is fine as it stands (with a quick recheck), but I would suggest adding a little bit about how important humor is to you. You love to laugh and are funny and that’s the kind of tool you fall back on once you get in front of kids. Smiling faces learn more, and you make people smile. I have no doubt you’ll succeed.


    • I agree with Clay, he is a wise a** one, and wise 🙂


    • I’ve written so many of these kinds of essays…for scholarships, mainly. I, also, have grown tired of reading the same prompts, but I knew I had to put much more into this one, since this is it…my chance to finally become a real, live teacher. I had already turned in the application when I read your response, but I am allowed to update it on occasion. I will go back and insert some”humor” 🙂 Thanks for the kind words, Clay.


  6. I think it’s perfect, as is. You’ve really touched on the importance of being inspiring. All of the teachers that I remember most fondly are the ones who inspired me. I’ve also worked in a school and had an opportunity to observe all of the teachers and it was clear what made the most popular ones the favorites. They were inspiring.


    • Students won’t want to learn unless the subject is important to the teacher, as well. Kids are really spot-on when analyzing teacher’s attitudes. You have to bring your heart to the table.


  7. I liked that you mentioned practice-so necessary for any kind of expertise, right? Also, check the 2nd paragraph, last sentence: I think an “of” is needed after the word “realization.”
    Humor – so very important – the balance of discipline/grace/consequences/etc. etc. I’ve taught for 3 yrs and then moved, and i’m trying to find another teaching position in my new city. I realized how much I missed teaching when I read your blog, it’s been very difficult to find a job here. Thank you and I wish you the very best. IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: