Teacher Trait: Gratitude and Greatness

Teacher Trait, Gratitude and Greatness - TeamTom Education

( words) minutes to read 

What really separates great teachers from average teachers?

I don’t think it’s:

  • test scores
  • office referrals
  • content knowledge
  • pedagogy

That may sound strange at first glance, but…

…I really don’t think it’s the set of strategies great teachers use day in and day out that makes them great. I really don’t think it’s their degrees or certifications. I really don’t think it’s their experience.

You’ll probably agree that great teachers have one trait that sets them apart. This single trait allows them to:

  • be flexible when challenges seem overwhelming
  • find the positive in the most difficult scenarios
  • remain creative and enthusiastic
  • reach students when others cannot.
This single trait is gratitude.
How do great teachers reach students when no one else can - the key, gratitude. Read this article to see how great teachers stand apart.

The Grateful Teacher, 11 Ways

Gratitude is many things and shows up in many ways. Here are 11 ways I’ve seen it in great teachers.

  1. Finding the strengths in others around you.
  2. Finding the strengths in the students you teach.
  3. Viewing administrative and organizational challenges as simple hurdles, not complex mountains.
  4. Understanding you are an employee, and you are thankful to your employer.
  5. Understanding you are among other professionals who also carry many burdens.
  6. Finding ways to express goodwill towards those you work with.
  7. Being upset, but not venting to everyone.
  8. Telling your principal, “Thank you.”
  9. Telling your teammates, “Thank you.”
  10. Telling your students’ parents, “Thank you.”
  11. Telling your students, “Thank you.”

Gratitude is a mindset. It is the mindset of good intention and goodwill. From this mindset, a strong school climate and culture can be built. Challenges, conflict, and scrutiny quickly subside around gratitude.


Gratitude is a mindset of good intentions and goodwill. Click To Tweet


The Single Most Important Teaching Trait

Gratitude is the single most important trait in an educator. We live in a time when educators face scrutiny from all angles.

There are a variety of lawmakers who seek to undermine success. Some parents hold onto their own backgrounds, which were peppered with uncomfortable educational experiences. And there are colleagues who experience the unfortunate hand of mistreatment by supervisors and colleagues.

The grateful teacher will always learn, find the good in others, and stay strong! Click To Tweet

Sometimes there are no easy answers. Sometimes there is no perfection. But there can always be gratitude. And gratitude can always find potential.

The challenges are robust. The obstacles are many. The needs multiply as each year passes.

But gratitude, possible even gratitude alone, can help educators be every bit of the professional that is needed to create the innovative solutions and paradigm shifts required for each student to be successfully educated.

Gratitude empowers you to learn, find the good in others, and stay strong. Do you know teachers who are great and are grateful? How do they impact you? How do grateful teachers influence your school? In what ways do you or your leaders show gratitude on a frequent basis?

About the Author

Matt is a learner, creator, and educator with k-12 teaching, administrative, and research experience. He tracks trends in education, travels the oceans, and fails at fishing.

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