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Some teachers leave their mark on an entire generation of students. The quality of their lessons, and the inspirational style of their teaching can transform young minds.

Right here in Wales we don’t need to look any further than the English teacher Philip Burton, who took the young Richard Jenkins under his wing and gave back to the world Richard Burton: brilliant Shakespearean actor and international film star, who married the most beautiful woman in the world, twice.

So what is it that makes some teachers outstanding?

Our research in at a well-known Welsh College focused specifically on personality traits of tutors who students assessed as exceptional.

Last week we reported that exceptional tutors and assessors have positive conflict resolution styles (collaboration, consensus and guiding), and score high in Emotional Intelligence for relationship management and emotional coaching.

What about their outlook on life. Are they optimistic or pessimistic?

Psychometric questionnaires revealed a significant score: some 68.3% of the sample group who students rated as exceptional were optimistic.

They have a positive outlook on life. They infect their students with hope. With the belief good things do happen. That anything is possible if you work hard enough.

What’s more, we identified a strong correlation between Optimism and Resilience.

That’s what took Richard Jenkins out of his penury in Wales and allowed him to use his money to support his family, local communities in South Wales, Macmillan Cancer Research, Morrison Hospital Burns unit … and aspiring young actors in the Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Drop an exceptional teacher into the community and who knows how far the ripples will go?

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