What is a World-Class Teacher?

What is a world-class teacher?

This summer, we heard from students, teachers, PTA members, superintendents, Schools of Education deans, business leaders and more to uncover what it means to be a world-class teacher. These individuals have six characteristics that enable them to educate their students in the best ways possible.

World-Class Teacher Profile


A teacher’s presence must extend far outside of their classroom. A teacher of tomorrow will place more emphasis on team-teaching and a cross-disciplinary curriculum. World-class teachers are members of dynamic teams and aware of the need to build collaboration and partnerships with their colleagues, parents and the community to maximize learning potential.  They understand the demands of a dynamic economy and how to engage business leaders in order to produce students that will excel in the workforce.

  • Redesigns the parameters of the brick-and-mortar classroom using technology to work with teachers and classrooms in other districts, states and countries.
  • Understands how global forces impact the lives and futures of students and seeks resources and collaboration beyond the boundaries of their own classroom
  • Confers with fellow teachers and explores learning opportunities in the private sector, and with public partners

Jose Garcia is an excellent example of a teacher collaborator. Learn how he partners with several organizations to improve his students’ learning experiences.


A world-class teacher’s view of their students is holistic and compassionate. They know the strengths of the cross-cultural classroom, while having an awareness of the environmental factors challenging students. Beyond their students, teachers must understand the crucial and irreplaceable role education plays in economic development; and serve as advocates for their community and their profession.

  • Can recognize the impact risk factors, such as hunger, and their role in a student’s ability to concentrate and perform academically.
  • Has awareness of the how family or other out-of-school circumstances affect a student’s cognitive functions such as emotional control and attention.
  • Has an awareness of diversity inside the classroom, uses it to recognize and appropriately appreciate cultural cues and to identify the best means to approach each child
  • Promote positive changes in policies and practices affecting student learning (NC Professional Teaching Standards)
  • Advocates for themselves and their profession by sharing successes and triumphs.

See how Jennifer Johnson from Blue Creek Elementary serves as a strong advocate for her students.
Jennifer Johnson


A world-class teacher seeks what works in the classroom.  Their entrepreneurial and creative spirit enables them to continually adapt their teaching styles as technologies and approaches evolve.  Harnessing the exponential acceleration of technology, and its pervasive use by youths, teachers should be at the cutting-edge of innovation. A world-class teacher is able to engineer multiple pathways to reach students, drawing from any number of technologies. These teachers are willing to share and promote successful strategies, generating change from the bottom up.

  • Introduces technology in a blended learning model; using technology to strongly supplement instruction, not to replace it.
  • Displays an aptitude for modeling and encouraging exploration and experimentation in learning and teaching on digital platforms, and beyond.

Jennie Yearick from Porter Ridge High School exemplifies this role. See how she’s an innovator with her GREATRACE initiative.
headshot jennie


The most effective teacher is one who can implement best practices that provide relevance for all students. These teachers know how to best drive student learning by combining expert instruction, tailored to meet the needs of individual student learning and classroom management. The teacher is a motivational force whose classroom presence instills a life-long love of learning and inquiry in all students.

  • Identifies individual learning pathways for students, and tailors curriculum to serve the needs of the individual’s needs and talents.
  • Uses assessment tools to not only gauge a student’s performance, but to take remedial action and to continue to guide a students’ individual learning plans.
  • Identifies and responds to signs a student is experiencing social or emotional difficulties that may impact their learning.
  • Knows students as individuals and creates a safe and supportive learning environment that respects diverse experiences, perspectives, and motivations.
  • Understands that healthy classroom management promotes a safe and inclusive school for all children.


A world-class teacher restlessly seeks to develop and improve the skills that produce the best learning outcomes. They are a fluid and dynamic and understand that so too is their profession. This teacher constantly seeks to improve their content knowledge and skills through professional development.

  • Views content mastery not as a static attribute, but as skill that needs constant honing and development.
  • Seeks innovation in both the pedagogical and core subject arenas.
  • Searches for areas for professional development beyond the school environment by interfacing with private businesses, teachers’ colleges, and public partners.

La Vonne Brown, an adjunct lecturer in UNCG’s Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education exemplifies this role as a lifelong learner and teacher. She is recognized for her passion for learning and her willingness to pass along her gifts as a 40-year veteran educator to future generations of educators. Read more about her here.


Teachers who are facilitators of learning possess knowledge, not act as the keepers of knowledge. As the custodian of learning and student growth, the teacher makes relevant connections between the world that student’s live in and core subject matter.

  • Makes connections between curriculum and many aspects of a student’s life.
  • Identifies the cause-and-effect relationship between environmental factors and student success and is able to use these factors to improve student outcomes.
  • Proactively identifies learning patterns and learning gaps before students become discouraged.
  • Explores and experiments with instructional methods to discover best practices.

As a world-class health educator, Larry Reynolds from Ferndale Middle School exemplifies the role as facilitator. Find out why he’s an excellent representative in and out of the classroom.