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Top 9 Qualities of a Good Teacher: Do you have what it takes?

The qualities of a good teacher are many and varied. Discover how you stack up against the top nine teaching skills of 2022.

Inquiry-based learning in the classroom
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Math Minds

Wednesday, 6th July 2022

A good teacher is someone who is not only knowledgeable in their field but also someone who is able to convey that knowledge to others in an engaging and interesting way. Teaching is a complex profession, and it takes more than just intelligence to be a good teacher.

We've put together a list of the top 9 qualities that we believe make a good teacher. You'll also find some practical tips on how you can develop these traits further. So if you're thinking of becoming a teacher or are already in the profession, see if you have what it takes!

1. Strong communicator

Verbal and nonverbal communication skills are essential for any profession, but they are especially important for teachers. In the classroom, teachers need to be able to explain concepts clearly and concisely.

teacher with strong communication skills

A good teacher is someone who can communicate effectively. They are able to articulate their thoughts and ideas in a way that is easy for students to understand. A good teacher is also a good listener. They are patient and take the time to listen to their students, even when they are struggling to express themselves.

Interpersonal skills

The very best teachers are able to build relationships and create a positive learning environment. You must be encouraging, caring, and supportive. It's about making students feel valued and respected. It's simple - when they feel comfortable, they are more likely to engage in learning.

Active Listening

When you are actively listening, you are not only hearing what the student is saying but also trying to understand the meaning behind their words. This means being patient, paying attention, and not interrupting. Active listening shows students that you value their input and that you are interested in what they have to say.

This also helps you understand where they are coming from and what they need help with. In turn, this allows you to adjust your teaching methods accordingly.

2. Adaptable

A good teacher is someone who is able to adapt to different situations. No two students are the same, so a good teacher knows how to adjust their teaching style to meet the needs of each individual student.

teacher adapting to individual students work

This might mean using different methods of instruction or providing extra support for those who are struggling. A good teacher is also flexible and is willing to try new things if it means that their students will benefit from it. Adopting new teaching methods or using technology to boost student achievement in the classroom.

Coping with change

The world is constantly changing, and a great teacher is someone who knows how to change with it. They are always learning and growing so that they can provide their students with the best education possible. You must learn to embrace change and be willing to experiment with new ideas.

Flexible teaching style

To be an effective teacher, you must be able to adapt your teaching style to meet the needs of both the content as well as the learning styles of individual students. By using different methods of instruction you can ensure that students learn in a way that is best for them. For example, if you're teaching a visual learner, you might use more charts and diagrams than you would for someone who is more auditory.

3. Engaging

One of the most important qualities of a good teacher is the ability to engage their students in learning. If students are not engaged, they are less likely to retain information. A good teacher knows how to capture their students' attention and make learning fun.

When it comes to engaging students, effective teachers incorporate hands-on activities or use real-world examples to illustrate a concept. You must involve the entire class in the learning process. This includes using group work, discussions, and cooperative learning.

teacher engaging different students

Empower confidence

Effective teaching is not about lecturing students and telling them what to do. It's about empowering students to think for themselves and figure things out on their own. That's why a good teacher is someone who instils a sense of confidence in their students.

When students feel confident, they begin to take risks and try new things. They feel like they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. Give them that courage - but you must actually believe it yourself.

So, if you want to encourage students to be lifelong, independent learners, empower them with both the skills and resilience they need to succeed.

Motivate and inspire

The key to fostering a love of learning in students is to motivate and inspire them. You must know how to ignite a passion for learning in your kids. Educating students is not just what you teach, but also how you teach it. To motivate and inspire students, a good teacher must be enthusiastic about not only the subject they're teaching but also about the students they're teaching it to.

4. Empathetic

A good teacher is someone who is able to put themselves in their students' shoes. You understand what it's like to be a student and can relate to the challenges that they face. This empathy will allow you to build strong relationships with your students and create a supportive learning environment.

Take the time to get to know your students on a personal level. Show them that you care about them as individuals and not just as members of your class.

Understanding the diverse backgrounds and experiences of your students is critical to being able to teach them effectively.

Nurturing and understanding

Whether you're teaching senior or elementary school students, effective teachers are always nurturing and understanding. You must provide students with the support they need to succeed. This could be emotional, academic, or social support.

Inclusivity

A safe and inclusive classroom environment where students feel like they can be authentic makes all the difference. As their role model, it is your job to cultivate this space - every single day. When students feel like they belong, they push themselves outside of their comfort zone, which leads to real growth.

5. Passionate

Remember that school teacher who looked forward to coming to class every day? The one who made learning fun and inspired you to follow your dreams? That's the kind of teacher we all should aspire to be. When you're passionate about what you do, it shows. Your energy is contagious and students feed off of it.

teacher answering student questions

Enthusiasm

When you're enthusiastic about what you're teaching, it comes across in your delivery. Students can tell when you're excited about a topic and it makes them want to learn more. You must also show enthusiasm for every single student's success. When you believe in your students, they start to believe in themselves.

Creativity

The best teachers are creative thinkers. They know how to look at a problem from different angles and come up with unique solutions. Whether it's maths problem solving strategies or ways to get kids engaged in a history lesson - when you're creative, you're not afraid to think outside the box. To challenge the status quo. To question why and be ready to innovate. Most teachers forget that education is about stoking the imagination, not just filling students' heads with information.

6. Effective management

Your teaching skills start before you even step into the classroom. Good time management, organization skills and preparation are essential qualities of a good teacher.

teacher with a positive attitude fostering a safe classroom environment

You must be able to juggle multiple tasks at once and stay calm under pressure. Routines are also important for keeping students on track and have been proven to help enforce high standards of classroom behavior.

Organised and prepared

Classroom management is one of the most important aspects of teaching. It sets the tone for the entire class, providing structure and helping children feel supported. You can try the following strategies to help you stay organised and prepared:

  • Create a daily schedule

  • Have a set routine for different activities

  • Keep your classroom clean and tidy

  • Use visual aids to help students follow along

  • Prepare materials in advance

Teaching strategies

There is no one magic formula when it comes to teaching strategies. The most skilled teachers are able to adapt their style to meet the needs of their students. They use a variety of methods to engage students in the material and ensure that everyone is learning. Some common maths strategies we use include:

  • Whole-class instruction

  • Small-group work

  • Inquiry-based learning

  • Hands-on learning

  • Differentiated instruction

  • Blended learning

  • Flipped classroom

7. Sense of humour

A sense of humour is an important quality for any teacher. It helps you build rapport with your students, diffuses tense situations and makes learning fun. When you can make your students laugh, they feel more comfortable around you, which makes it easier for them to learn.

PE teachers using humour in class

The use of humour is not easy - it definitely is an art. There is no magic formula for humour either and it's something that takes training as well as exploration to find what works. But, there are some guiding principles you can keep in mind:

  • Don't force it - if something isn't funny, don't try to make it into a joke

  • Be aware of your audience - know your students and what type of humour different kids respond to

  • Keep it light - avoid making fun of anyone or anything in a hurtful way

  • Humour can offend, even when it isn't your intention - that's just its nature. So If you do offend someone, be sure to apologise and be open to hearing and learning about their perspective

Improves student outcomes

Once you find your flow, humour has a way of making the classroom experience more enjoyable for everyone involved. Research has shown us when students learn with joy, they engage with the material and retain information better. So, being suitably funny will not only make your students drawn toward your teaching, but it will help them learn and succeed. Win-win!

Laugh at yourself

One of the best ways to show your students that it's okay to make mistakes is to laugh at yourself. It takes the pressure off them and shows that you're human too. When you make a mistake, own up to it and model the learning process for them. It'll go a long way in making them feel confident making errors and learning to deal with 'failures'.

By laughing at yourself, you can also show children how to cope with embarrassment or even deal with life's obstacles.

Moreover, If you celebrate a mistake, your kids will be more likely to do the same. Good teachers turn every hurdle into something positive. This is an incredibly vital skill, which can make a huge impact on a child's future.

8. Real-world learning

Most of our education happens outside the classroom. So it's extremely important to use real-world examples to bring lessons to life and help students understand how the material applies to them. This type of learning is especially effective for kinaesthetic and visual learners.

teacher inspiring kids to do their own learning

When you can connect what your students are learning to the world around them, it makes the material real and helps them see its value. It also allows them to make connections between different concepts, which deepens their understanding.

So whether you're a maths tutor or high school teacher, think about how you can incorporate real-world examples. It'll make your students more engaged and excited to learn!

Context is everything

In order to be an effective teacher, you need to be able to put your students' learning into context. This means understanding where they're coming from and how the material fits into the bigger picture. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Ask your kids questions about their background and prior knowledge

  • Make connections between the material and other concepts your students are familiar with

  • Use relatable examples to illustrate key points

  • Help them see how the material applies to their lives

Growth mindset

Great teaching goes beyond just content knowledge. It's also about helping students deal with challenges, overcome setbacks and continue learning even when things are tough. This is where fostering a growth mindset comes in.

When you have a growth mindset, you believe that everyone has the ability to grow and improve with effort. This means that you see failures as opportunities to learn rather than proof of someone's lack of ability.

One of the best ways to nurture this outlook in your kids is to focus on their effort, not intelligence. This is one of those teacher qualities that makes a big difference in student outcomes. When you praise someone for their hard work, they start to see failures as something they can learn from. On the other hand, if you focus on ability, they may start to believe that their worth is based on their results.

9. Lifelong learners

To be an amazing teacher, you must always look for new ways to improve your craft and grow as an educator. Constantly expanding your knowledge so you can better serve your students. Remember, the world is continually changing and we must learn to change with it.

teachers learning about various degree programs

One way to do this is to keep up with the latest research in your field. Take advantage of professional development opportunities. Attend conferences, workshops and webinars. Read books and articles on education. Follow blogs and pedagogies related to your subject area. The more you learn, the more you'll be able to help your kids!

Self-reflection

An important step to becoming a great teacher is acknowledging that there's always room for improvement. No one is perfect and there's always more to learn. The best teachers are constantly reflecting on their practice and looking for ways to improve. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • What worked well in this lesson? Why do you think it was successful?

  • What didn't work well? What could you have done differently?

  • How did your students respond to the lesson? What can you do to ensure they're engaged and excited to learn?

  • What are some areas you need to work on? What professional development opportunities can help you grow as a teacher?

By taking the time to reflect on your teaching, you can identify areas of strength and weakness. This will help you create more successful lessons in the future!

Willingness to learn

You must keep an open mind and be willing to learn new things! Whether it's from your students, colleagues or other professionals. Be open to new ideas and different perspectives. You never know when you might learn something that can help you in your own classroom!

Education is not static, it's constantly evolving. In order to be the best teacher you can be, you need to be willing to learn, update your techniques and grow with the times.

Final Thoughts

Expertise and knowledge are, of course, the foundation upon which all good teaching is built. A good teacher must be able to expertly navigate the material they are teaching, and be able to answer any questions that their students may have. This is a given.

It's the qualities that lie beyond mere curriculum delivery that really separate great teachers from the rest. The ability to engage and inspire students is a must. Teachers should be able to capture their attention and make them excited and curious about life. They should also be able to instil a love of learning so that even after they leave the classroom, their students continue to seek out knowledge.

Professionalism and work ethic are also important qualities in a great teacher. You should be punctual, organized, and prepared for each class. All while maintaining a high level of emotional intelligence - this means reading students and adjusting your teaching style accordingly.

Above all else, a good teacher is someone who is dedicated to their students and their success. This means going above and beyond, both inside and outside of the classroom.

If you possess these qualities or are continually working to develop them, then you're well on your way to becoming a teacher that students will never forget!

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