What Makes a Quality Teacher?
April 26, 2017

A quality teacher designs learning environments and experiences that have an impact.

A Quality Learning Experience is any experience that:

  • Shifts your mindset
  • Causes you to see yourself in a new way
  • Enables you to awaken another aspect of your Greatness
  • Expands your capabilities and capacities to perform at a higher level

I have experienced many Quality Teachers – three of which had huge impacts on my life. They designed transformational learning experiences that shifted my mindset so I could see my Greatness.

As you read this, think to yourself: “Who are the Quality Teachers in my Life?”


My Quality Teachers

Jim Grieve

While in high school I had a part-time job working for Jim Grieve, Owner, and Manager of the local IGA grocery store. At 16 I made a bad decision and got charged for careless driving. I grew up in a small town where this experience made the local paper, so everyone knew about it.

One day after the incident Jim asked to meet with me privately. I thought for sure Jim was going to fire me because of the impact this would have on his reputation. I was wrong.

Jim asked me a simple, yet powerful question, “How can I support you in this experience? Can I help pay your legal bill?” I said no, “My Dad told me I had to pay the legal bill of $3,000.” Without hesitation, Jim said to me, “Eric, I just fired our janitor and I need someone to clean our floors nightly and I am willing to pay you $1,500/month for the next 3 months in addition to your part-time salary, are you interested?” I jumped at the opportunity. Jim’s extraordinary leadership and ability to be a Quality Teacher unlocked an aspect of my Greatness – Be accountable for your mistakes and move forward. Thanks, Jim, for being a Quality Teacher in my life!


Mike Murphy

When I was in University in the late 80s I was living with four guys and I was the house manager. As the house manager, one of my responsibilities was to find a new roommate for the coming school year.

One of the candidates I interviewed was Mike Murphy. I asked him, “Tell me what you did last summer for a job?”

Mike’s response to my question was, “Last summer I got a job tree planting in BC for two months. I made enough money to go to school this year, and took July and August off to ride my bicycle from Anchorage, Alaska, down the west coast of the U.S., across the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in California, down into Death Valley and on to Phoenix, Arizona where I flew back here to London, Ontario to go to school this year.”

I was in AWE and felt somewhat intimidated by the experience Mike had had! I thought, wow would I love to do a trip like that someday.

My expression must have said it all because, without a pause, Mike simply looked me in the eye and made this bold declaration, “Well, with that attitude Eric, I guess you’re not going to do much with your life!”

I was shocked by his boldness and frankness. I thanked him for meeting with me and I left annoyed by his statement.

His words impacted my soul so much that within four days I went home, sold my boat and car, and bought a bicycle. Within 6 weeks I had a job planting trees in BC and a plan to bike from Calgary to Vancouver and down the west coast of the U.S. to San Francisco. Thanks, Mike, for being a Quality Teacher in my life! Mike became our fifth roommate that following year.


Len Hill

Len Hill was one of my professors in University. One day Len came up to me and said, “Eric I really like your commitment to Geology and your work ethic and I am recommending you to the Dean of the Facility of Geology as one of ten students of the forty in your third-year class to write a 4th year thesis, and I would like to be your advisor.”

I was shocked and honoured. In that moment of excitement, I said yes. When I got home that night, I panicked. I hated writing essays and I had just agreed to write a thesis!

Len saw part of my Greatness – my ability to challenge my comfort zone around writing and project management. I wrote a 76-page thesis and got an A-. This experience shifted my mindset and internal story around “I can’t express myself through quality writing”. I could and I did.

This new mindset was the catalyst for me to create my own Leadership coaching company and the inspiration for my book, “Design Your Life and Live It”. Thanks, Len, for believing in my potential and getting me to see it!


Your Leadership Learning Challenge:

Who has been a Quality Teacher in your life? Ponder the impact their teaching gave you and pay it forward by being a Quality Teacher to someone in your network. Get them to see their Greatness!

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