There is no formula for a “perfect teacher.” It’s a message East Central College Education Instructor Greg Stotler delivers to his students every semester.
“As teachers, we strive to be the best we can and know our limitations,” he explained. “Flexibility is key. No class is the same. Teaching takes a tremendous amount of skill in listening and evaluating.”
It’s also important to have a sense of humor. “Good” teachers, Stotler argues, are not afraid to laugh at themselves or with their students.
“If I had to designate one requirement for teachers it would be the ability to laugh. Life is funny. Some days it may come in the form of joy and others it may come in the form of irony or even discomfort. Laughter helps us survive.”
Stotler practices what he preaches. It’s one of the many reasons he is such a valuable resource to students. It’s also one of the reasons he was awarded the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award in 2017 – an annual recognition of educators in the St. Louis area who are examples of excellence in their field.
According to his nomination form (which is kept anonymous), “Greg Stotler provides a positive and comfortable classroom environment that empowers students to ask questions freely. He consistently engages his students in a manner that forces them to think outside their comfort zone in order to connect their understanding of concepts to their experiences.”
It added that his teaching is not limited to just the classroom. Stotler can often be found around campus engaging students in activities. He continuously pushes students to access their full potential and to test their limits.
Stotler credits his success in education to his upbringing.
“I went into teaching because I was surrounded by amazing teachers, family, friends and colleagues in and outside school,” he said. “A countless number of people believed in me and always supported my path. Those people knew when to push me and knew when I needed guidance, always demonstrating that life is not a solitary endeavor.”
He brings that mentality to the classroom every day.
“I love preparing students for one of their first ‘teaching’ roles through our coursework. During this experience, a wonderful combination of nervousness and excitement resonates from the students,” he said.