We all know that teachers can make or break a child’s educational experience. As the leader of the classroom, teachers have the responsibility of not only teaching their students and helping them learn content, but also developing relationships with their students.
But what exactly does that entail? What qualities are needed to carry out the role of a teacher? Extensive research has been done to examine what qualities make up a “good teacher,” and below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important characteristics that teachers possess. If you possess most or all of these traits, it’s likely that you would make a great teacher!
It’s no secret that passionate teachers are more likely to be engaging and excited to teach their students. We’ve all experienced teachers who are (and aren’t) excited to teach and it shows in their instruction. Excitement is contagious! When teachers are excited to introduce a topic and are passionate about their instruction, odds are that their students will be more engaged and willing to learn (Miller, 2012).
One of the most important qualities good teachers possess is the ability to empathize (Hamachek, 1969). In order to teach the students, they first need to be able to understand them. Teachers must be able to put themselves in the places of their students to evaluate how they are learning. This requires teachers to listen to, observe, notice, and learn what makes each of their students unique, and then apply those differences into each individual’s learning.
In a research study evaluating student perceptions of “good teachers,” students were asked which qualities they think make up a “good teacher.” Among over 3,000 students, the second most frequently listed quality was humor (Bakx, Koopman, de Kruijf, & den Brok, 2015). Rightfully so, if learning isn’t fun, students won’t be motivated to do it. Being able to have fun with and laugh with your students is an admirable quality, especially to students, and is a useful tool for lightening the mood and helping students feel comfortable.
For kids to even begin to learn, they must feel safe and comfortable in their environment. In order for that to happen, teachers must create a warm and caring environment, which they can do by being kind and caring. Teachers who are willing to help their students even when it requires extra time or work are the ones that students will remember the most (Hamacheck, 1969; Bakx, Koopman, de Kruijf, & den Brok, 2015).
Because learning is a process and everyone is different, teachers need to be able to adjust and adapt lessons as needed. Teachers must be able to handle whatever is thrown at them and accommodate to the needs of all students, which might require some flexibility (Hamachek, 1969).
Teachers must maintain a certain level of organization in their classrooms, for their own sakes, and for the effectiveness of their students. Teachers who are more organized are more likely to be more efficient in their teaching and managing of the classroom and students.
If you found yourself relating to these characteristics, odds are, you would make a great teacher! But, it’s also important to remember that nobody is perfect and ALL of these characteristics require practice. So, even if you didn’t have all of these qualities, NO WORRIES! You can practice and develop them overtime! That’s one of the great things about teachers! There is always room for continuous growth and improvement!
Bakx, A., Koopman, M., de Kruijf, J., & den Brok, P. (2015) Primary school pupils’ views of characteristics of good primary school teachers: an exploratory, open approach for investigating pupils’ perceptions, Teachers and Teaching, 21:5, 543-564
Hamachek, D. (1969). Characteristics of Good Teachers and Implications for Teacher Education. The Phi Delta Kappan, 50(6), 341-345. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20372351
Miller, P. (2012). Ten Characteristics of a Good Teacher. English Teaching Forum, 50(1), 36–38. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ971241&site=ehost-live&scope=site