The role of a teacher is a challenging one. The teacher has to think on her feet. She must understand the different levels of knowledge, emotional readiness and required processing of information to make her students successful. Some people are better at this than others.  The good teacher knows the answers to questions that could be found in a couple of Google searches. But those well-worn answers are not the ones that transform a good learning experience into a great one.

A gifted teacher will offer answers to the questions that the student hadn’t thought to ask. She will empathize, anticipate and delight—going out of her way to be creative and do work she’s proud of—just because she can.

It’s possible in every job to learn your lines, stick to the script and offer the required solution. Nobody will question your competence if you show up on time, put in the hours and don’t make mistakes. But the work that’s most appreciated and valued now isn’t simply the compliant or the competent—it’s the creative work you do, not because it’s required, but because you can.