A good teacher has the ability to greatly impact a child’s life, whether that be through providing invaluable life skills or being a source of inspiration and hope. Whatever the case, it’s undeniable that there are certain skills and traits that most great teachers have in common.
If you’re pursuing a career in teaching, it’s important that you are aware of the demands it entails. Teaching jobs generally carry a heavy workload and a considerable amount of responsibility, and there are a number of qualities that can mean the difference between simply getting the job done and being a teacher who leads, inspires and changes the lives of their students.
To make sure you have what it takes to succeed as an educator, here are some of the top traits and skills necessary to become an excellent primary or secondary school teacher.
Every student is different and will face their own unique challenges throughout their education. Whether these are behavioural issues or they’re struggling to understand the content that you’re teaching, you must be able to be understanding of the situation and do your best to guide them through it.
Despite large classrooms and the varying needs of every student, you’ll have to be patient in assisting them to work through whatever obstacles they’re facing. Not only will this be the most effective way of helping them overcome these issues, but it will also help you to lead by example and demonstrate just how important patience and understanding is in life.
Empathy goes hand in hand with patience when it comes to teaching, as both require you to be considerate of each student’s situation and circumstances. You never know what is going on in a student’s personal life, and this is especially true if you work in secondary education.
Being a teenager comes with a whole new set of challenges for students, and many of them haven’t yet developed the skills to handle these situations. It’s important that your students feel validated and emotionally supported, even if what they’re going through may seem trivial or silly.
Treating your students with empathy will help them to gain control over their emotions and be more compassionate and understanding of each other. This will help to create a more productive and harmonious learning environment and help them develop important life skills in the process.
Being able to engage your students can be a huge challenge to any teacher, especially if the content is particularly dry or complicated. A mix of humor, creativity and passion will help give you the presence required to keep your students engaged and interested in what you’re teaching. Also read here to know how to improve your leadership skills.
A big part of this is your commitment to your role as a teacher. If students can tell that you’re disinterested or have other things on your mind, they’ll reciprocate that same energy back to you. However, if you can bring energy and a spark to the classroom, this enthusiasm will pay off and help you create a stimulating classroom environment.
As a teacher, no two days will ever be the same. Every class you teach will work differently and what works for certain students won’t work for others. On top of that, changes to school curriculums, schedules and student expectations can constantly occur on short notice.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced many schools to go virtual, with online teaching just another obstacle that teachers have had to adjust to. As a teacher, you need to be ready to take these changes on the chin and not let them get in the way of what’s best for your students.
Strong communication skills are one of the most important skills a teacher should have. As a teacher, you’ll constantly be communicating with people of different ages, backgrounds, beliefs and professions. Not only will this help you to effectively teach your students, but it will also help you to forge a good relationship with their parents and your fellow teachers.
On top of this, being a competent communicator will enable you to understand the needs of your students and present the content of your class with clarity and precision.
Teaching is arguably one of the most stressful jobs out there, and it can be a lot to handle at times. Between the heavy responsibilities, intense workload and unpredictability, it takes a certain type of person to balance all these moving pieces.
Whatever stresses you’re facing, teachers must be able to keep their cool and remain composed in front of their students. Sudden outbursts or breakdowns can scare students or impact how they perceive you, and affect the relationship you share with them. It’s important that you’re able to maintain a healthy learning environment regardless of how overwhelmed or overworked you’re feeling.
These skills are just some of the defining characteristics of excellent teachers. While these may come naturally to certain people, others will have to work that little bit harder to be that great teacher that every student deserves.
The good thing is that school jobs are always in demand, and there’ll always be plenty of opportunities to share your skills with the students who need them the most. Just make sure you’re willing to put in the work and always consider best interests of your students.