What makes for a good teacher? Though every teacher is different, good teachers have these 5 things in common.
Read on for the 5 qualities of a good teacher.
What Are the 5 Qualities of Good Teacher?
Perhaps you are considering the teaching profession and wondering, “Do I have what it takes to be a good teacher?”
Or perhaps you are already in the profession and wonder where you stand. Are you a good teacher? Where could you improve?
While they may teach different subjects and grades and in different settings, all good teachers have these 5 qualities in common.
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1. A Good Teacher Is Knowledgeable
Do you have to be a rocket scientist to be a teacher? No. But if you are teaching rocket science, you do need to be knowledgeable about the subject.
Subject matter knowledge is especially important in higher level math, science, music, and language classes.
These subjects require a great deal of training to master.
Being a knowledgeable teacher goes further than just depth of subject matter, you also need to be a lifelong learner.
As a teacher, you are in the business of inspiring young people to want to learn.
That inspiration starts with your example. Do you like to learn? All good teachers do.
This doesn’t mean you need to stay up at night reading astronomy textbooks, but it does mean you are constantly growing or learning in your hobbies and your profession.
The profession of teaching is always changing; there is more to learn every day.
This is why one of the 5 qualities of a good teacher is being knowledgeable.
2. A Good Teacher Is Observant and Empathetic
These two qualities go together because they are both components of being “people smart,” having a high emotional intelligence, or excelling at interpersonal skills.
While these talents comes naturally to some, others can work to cultivate them.
Good teachers seek to observe and empathize with their students and families.
Each student who sits in your classroom comes in with their own gifts and challenges.
An observant teacher learns to spot them.
When you notice a gift, you think, “How can I help the student cultivate this? How can this gift help him succeed in the classroom and in life?”
When you notice a student has a challenge or obstacle, you brainstorm ways to help the student.
This may mean helping him get the resources he needs or speaking with the parents or staff.
Good teachers have hearts for their students. This is where empathy comes in.
A good teacher considers, “Where is this student coming from? Why might he/she act this way?”
The answers to these questions leads to #3 of 5 qualities of a good teacher.
3. A Good Teacher Is Creative and Adaptable
“Expect the unexpected.” That’s the perfect motto for teaching. You never know what the school day will bring.
What mood will your students be in? What hiccups to the schedule will occur?
Perhaps your neatly-planned lesson will fall flat, and your students will simply not grasp the concept.
A good teacher is creative and adaptable.
As a teacher, you must bend and flex with the demands of the day.
You will have to shorten lessons, come up with additional resources for one student, or try out a new mode of learning.
A good teacher is willing to think out of the box and come up with creative ways to hook the students on a lesson.
A good teacher finds or creates supplemental materials to help students learn a concept when the standard materials just aren’t working.
Creativity and adaptability go hand in hand. Both are essential qualities of a good teacher.
4. A Good Teacher Works Hard But Has Boundaries
Good teachers work hard at their profession. They are committed to helping their students learn.
But a good teacher is also there for their students for the long haul, which means making it to the end of the year.
In order to do that, you must set boundaries.
Teaching will take all of you. You can work for 24 hours straight and still not get everything done.
That is why good teachers clock in and clock out.
Good teachers have a work-life balance. They make time for themselves, so they can bring their best to their students during the school day.
If you don’t set boundaries as a teacher, you will burn out, plain and simple.
You will not make it through the year or to your second or third year.
5. A Good Teacher Collaborates with Others
Can you teach someone if you are alone in a room (virtual teaching aside)? The answer is no.
Teaching is, by its very nature, collaborative.
In order for learning to take place, there must be give and take between you are your students. They must listen to you, and you must listen to them.
A good teacher also communicates clearly to parents and views them as collaborators in the education of their child.
Teachers are members of teams; you have colleagues that you can work with and learn from to make yourself an even better teacher.
New teachers should seek out mentors, and experienced teachers should be mentors.
A good teacher gets to know the staff of the school and treats them with respect.
The office and administrative team can also collaborate with you.
A good teacher is not an island but a member of a community.
The Top 5 Qualities of a Good Teacher
What makes for a good teacher? A good teacher is knowledgeable, observant, empathetic, creative, and adaptable.
He or she works hard but has boundaries in order to avoid burnout.
A good teacher collaborates with students, parents, faculty, and staff.
Some of these qualities may come naturally to you; others you may have to cultivate.
But it’s certainly within your reach to be an excellent teacher.