In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Four Ways to Spot a Great Teacher, the author outlined four characteristics of a great teacher. The article is introduced with a picture of Robin Williams in the movie ‘Dead Poets Society’ standing on top of two desks conversing with his students. A closer look at the picture reveals the students facial expression that indicate a belief that this is a “cool” teacher.

When a student believes that a teacher is cool it is not because of their dress, their outside activities, their belief in the learning process, their ability to act on data, or their know how of probing intellectual questions. It is because of their ability to forge appropriate teacher student classroom relationships. While these characteristics of a great teacher are necessary, the ability to formulate appropriate teacher student classroom relationships is paramount.

A great teacher will have the ability to reach all students from different cultural backgrounds. Students will respond to that teacher with respect and admiration. This great teacher will be exempt from the many classroom disruptions that plague our educational system. This teacher will be loved by Black parents and administrators alike.

Black parents will especially love this teacher because they know that with this teacher their children will get a fair shake. When a parent or student opposes a proposed disciplinary consequence, it will become clearly evident that this teacher is fair, resulting in present and future support for this parent. The one way that Black parents spot a great teacher is through an evaluation of the teachers fairness.

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All the best,


Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships

“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”. ~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools” ~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President


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