What Makes a Legendary Teacher?

By Brandon Juarez, MEd
Online Full-Time Faculty Manager, College of Education

Woman teacher speaks with girl student in office setting

The transformative power of an effective teacher resonates with almost all of us. This is why the largest influence on the success and long-term academic well-being of students is the classroom teacher (Tucker & Stronge, 2005).

When surveyed, pre-service teachers often give one of two responses when prompted as to why they are entering the field of education:

  1. They had a wonderful teacher that dramatically shaped their life.
  2. They had a terrible experience and seek to change the past by impacting the future.

Thankfully, the former is a more common response than the latter.

A central theme often embedded in the responses to the question, “What makes a teacher legendary?” is, “They pushed me” or “They believed in me even when I did not believe in myself.”

We must remember, we often dislike legendary teachers when we are their pupils. They push us, demand more of us, find the areas of opportunity in us and push our emotional buttons better than any other teacher on campus. It seems maturity, growth and humility must take root before we fully appreciate legendary teachers.

If you are a pre-service teacher or a new contracted teacher just finishing your first year of teaching, take heart – you have what it takes to be legendary! Believe in the hearts and minds sitting in your class; believe they have more to offer; believe the magic formula to motivate your students is there to be found and fostered. As a mentor once said, people may not remember what you taught them, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.

You are legendary.

Teacher’s Appreciation Week is this week, but Teaching in Purple will be celebrating all month long! Look for more posts this month about legendary teachers, thanking our educators and more.

Grand Canyon University helps education students become legendary teachers through learning, leading and serving. For more information, visit our website.


  • Tucker, P. & Stronge, J. (2005). Linking teacher evaluations and student learning. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Alexandria, VA.

More about Brandon: 

Brandon began his journey in education as a coach, teacher and athletic director in a Phoenix K-8 school, serving primarily in the middle school segment of the school. Brandon began his position at Grand Canyon University as full-time online faculty in August 2012 and expanded to the College of Education as an adjunct faculty on GCU’s main campus in the spring 2014. He received a promotion to manage a College of Education full-time online faculty team in April 2013.

In addition to his position at Grand Canyon University, Brandon also enjoys supporting GCU’s academic mission through his involvement as an adjunct instructor for the GCU College of Education campus, serving as a subject matter expert (SME) on special projects and site supervising educational administration interns and secondary education student teachers. In his spare time, he enjoys spending outdoor time with his wife and two children.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.