When I think back on my school days, I cannot help but think of the many teachers that taught me various subjects like math, science, history, English, and of course, the Bible. To the best of my knowledge, I counted over 20 different men and women who taught me in school. I owe each of these people so much for their investment in my life.

Of all of these teachers, there are a few whose lives and teachings have greatly impacted my life. Their words are an inspiration that lives on within me. These teachers are ones whose life and testimony are cherished and admonished by all who know them. These are what I like to call the extraordinary teachers. While all teachers have made a difference in my life, these are the teachers who encouraged me and inspired me to teach others.

The truth is that in schools all across America there are tens of thousands of ordinary teachers. These are men and women who do their job and teach their subjects. There are, however, among these teachers a select few who are deemed extraordinary by their students and peers. These are the teachers whose praises are sung in colleges, businesses, and homes all over the world. These are the teachers who make a difference beyond the classroom.

What makes certain teachers extraordinary and sets them above the rest? What is the difference between ordinary teachers and extraordinary teachers? The answer is almost too simple. The difference between ordinary teachers and extraordinary teachers is just a little extra! That extra makes all the difference in the world. That extra is what influences and inspires our students. That extra is what it will take to make you extraordinary.

Please allow me to challenge you to go above and beyond. Don’t settle for being another ordinary teacher. Be extraordinary. Make a difference in the lives of your students and peers. Allow your life to influence and inspire others, to motivate and encourage all who come in contact with you. Be extraordinary!

Here are a few ways to add the “extra” in your life that will make you an extraordinary teacher:

1. Extra Prayer.

If the success of your teaching was dependent on the amount of time you spend praying for your class, how successful would it be? In my thirteen-year tenure as a teacher and principal, I have realized just how much I need God’s help each day. The longer I work at the North Valley Baptist School, the more I see the needs of the students and fellow staff members. I can pray a little extra for my students, my classes, and my wisdom as a teacher. Figure out what time works best for you and spend some extra time in prayer. You will see how much more successful your day and your relationship with your students can become.

2. Extra Preparation.

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. The worst classes that I have ever taught have been the ones for which I was the least prepared. If you want to be an extraordinary teacher, you will have to do more than the bare minimum in your level of preparation. Most Christian school teachers juggle many roles and responsibilities, and extra time is a luxury. It is crucially important that you find time to prepare for your classes. Imagine if you spent just fifteen more minutes preparing for each class, what a difference it could make. Remember, ordinary teachers, prepare for their classes, but extraordinary teachers spend the extra time preparing.

3. Extra Personal Touch.

Perhaps the most important quality a teacher can possess is that of the personal touch. Let me ask you, how well do you know your students? When is their birthday, what are their hobbies, what type of learner are they? These are questions you could answer if you have truly given your students that personal touch. There is no better example of this truth than Jesus Christ. Think of all the miracles and the good that Jesus did during His earthly ministry. Everywhere He went, He influenced those He encountered. It was said of President Ronald Reagan in the White House that he could be heard coming down the hallway because of the excitement among those he stopped to talk with personally. That is the personal touch that you must have to be an extraordinary teacher. Remember, you can’t touch a student’s life from sitting behind your desk. You must walk the hallways talking to them, sit with them at lunch, and eat with them. Take the extra time every day to have a little extra touch on someone’s life.

4. Extra Passion.

Do you love your job as much today as when you first started? It is easy to become complacent and lose that passion that you once had for teaching. I have learned that students can read their teachers pretty well. If they see that you have no enthusiasm or passion for your classes, they develop that same attitude. Approach each class with a renewed passion. You should have so much passion for what you do that it is contagious to your students and your fellow teachers. Be extraordinary!

5. Extra Pat on the Back.

Encourage and praise your students whenever you can, no matter how difficult it is. While it is essential to correct your students, also make sure that you spend time praising and encouraging them. You will never know how far a kind word may go with one of your students. Go out of your way to tell a student how well they did or how proud you are of them. This will set you apart as an extraordinary teacher.

Don’t settle to be an ordinary teacher. Be the kind of teacher that students remember for a lifetime. Being a teacher is much more than just a job; it is a calling to influence people. Jesus, among many other things, was a teacher. He was more than just an ordinary teacher; He was extraordinary. Let us follow in His footsteps and do a little extra in our teaching. Let’s be extraordinary!

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Chris Fanara

Chris Fanara, Christian School Principal

Bro. Fanara serves as the Principal of North Valley Baptist Schools. He and his wife, Tabitha, are graduates of NVBS and have been faithfully working in the school for thirteen years.