How To Be A Good Teacher? 20 Qualities To Become a Good Teacher

Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops. – Henry Brooks Adams. Teaching is one of the noblest professions in the world. To be a good, effective teacher is a big responsibility as you are the potter accountable to mold little children’s lives. One of the prominent reasons people choose teaching as a profession is that you get to interact with young minds and inspire them to carve the future. You never know which student from your class may turn out to be the next Prime Minister or the next Noble Laureate.

Becoming a teacher has been considered one of the most challenging yet satisfying professions. In a corporate world, the employees have to spend a lot of time surrounded by actual machines or the people who have turned into machines (due to their stressful lives).

The amount of stress is extremely high. Whereas, though the stress level is high for teachers, interacting with the students is a type of stress reliever. In the long run, in the corporate world, your clients may forget you.

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Sometimes, maybe even your employers may forget you. But a student always remembers those teachers who have motivated them.

Teaching is one such profession where you can stay young mentally because of the people you will be surrounded with.

What Makes A Good Teacher?

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It takes many years of experience and patience to become a good teacher. Nonetheless, we all can be teachers to someone in different ways like:

  • A parent acts as a teacher to their kids.
  • Friends teach several things.
  • And life in itself is a great teacher.

So when you ask what makes a good teacher, it all boils down to these core things:

  • Being able to care genuinely for others
  • Showing enthusiasm for the class and students
  • The ability to plan things and act on them timely
  • Being an excellent communicator
  • And listening to students’ problems

What are the things a teacher should keep in mind in a classroom?

When a teacher enters a classroom, they should follow the S.A.L.T. method to encourage the best learning experience.

By embracing the S.A.L.T. method of learning, teachers can avoid stress and deliver a practical class to the students.

What is the S.A.L.T approach to teaching?

  • Seating arrangements.
  • Ambiance of the class.
  • Lighting: Make sure that the lighting is not too dim or bright.
  • Temperature: Ensure that the room temperature is pleasant.

Why Become A Good Teacher?

One of the top professional qualities of a teacher is that they can influence their students’ lives in the best possible way. They help their students become valuable members of society who will contribute to humankind’s welfare in the future.

Each child that enters the class has a different, curious, unique, and creative mind, and these minds are just looking for a way to be put to the right use. Teaching is the only profession that creates different avenues for students in their career growth.

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire. – William Butler Yeats

Hence, no matter how young or old, every teacher must work towards achieving excellence. They need to be the best in their profession who can set good examples for the young generation.

Essential Professional Characters To Become a Teacher

1. Qualifications

Your qualifications can vary as per your subject. Some schools focus on hiring teachers who have high requirements to make sure their school provides the best.

2. Aptitude

On the other hand, other schools look for abilities or skills. If a teacher loves to teach and has a love for her subject, she will connect and communicate with the students in a better way and foster their growth and development.

However, a teacher with all the qualifications in the world, but no aptitude for teaching, can never be a good teacher. For such teachers, their work will be another type of burden for them.

No matter how expert a person is, if they can’t covey their thoughts and knowledge to others in a way that is not only understandable but engaging, the knowledge itself is useless.

What Are The Qualities To Help You Become a Good Teacher?

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I have been teaching students for quite a long time now. As a teacher, I have come across various learning situations that have helped me become better in my career as a teacher. Here are some simple ways that can bring out the best version of you in the teaching profession.

1. Good Teachers Embrace Lifelong Learning

The definition of good teaching also involves learning along with the students as teachers who love learning become excellent educators in the future. The world is changing, and new trends are emerging in the market regularly. What’s popular today may become obsolete tomorrow!

Similarly, the global education system today is nothing like what it used to be 20 years ago. Teaching professionals must get familiar with the advanced technologies and tools to pass on the knowledge to their students and instill confidence in them.

If you stick to limited knowledge, you won’t deliver and engage well with the students.

To keep yourself updated, you can do the following things:

  • Pick up simple online courses.
  • Attend skill-based courses.
  • Enroll for another additional degree.

Below are a few platforms from where you can do additional courses:

  • Coursera
  • Udemy
  • Future Learning
  • Khan Academy

Lifelong learning can help you thrive and immensely help in becoming a better teacher.

2. Learn To Use technology In Your Classroom

Technology is one of the most common and vital instruments these days for the learning process as it plays a crucial role in teachers’ lives to make the whole learning seamless.

And since kids today are always exposed to gadgets, technology can make the whole learning process a fun activity for them.

You can incorporate various videos, ppts, online games, activities, etc., in your learning process. The internet is flooded with useful and exciting information that turns a class into a better place.

Guide to virtual learning during covid-19

  • Prepare a lesson plan in the morning and assign it to the student using a free web service.
  • Install video conferencing software on laptops such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Begin lectures at the same time every day that you’d do in a regular classroom.
  • Utilize productivity tools to manage class assignments. E.g., Wunderlist is a great app that keeps you in check with different tasks.
  • Install a whiteboard in your background or share your screen with students while teaching.

3. Good Teachers Communicate Effectively

One of the prominent characteristics of a teacher is knowing how to communicate effectively with students.  The whole process of teaching becomes futile if the teacher cannot express their thoughts and ideas.

How to effectively communicate with students?

  • Make sure the room is quiet and well-lit.
  • Have one on one conversation with the students.
  • Speak slowly and clearly by using words that the students understand.
  • Get regular feedback from the student.
  • Have a confident body posture.

4. A Great Teacher Listens Well

Effective communication in teaching does not end with speaking but listening to what the child has to say. A teacher has to be patient and understanding so that if their students have questions, the teacher is all ears to listen to the child.

Teachers can teach students the H.E.A.R strategy to focus and listen better in class.

What is H.E.A.R’s strategy of learning?

  • Halt: Freeing yourself from whatever you’re doing and pay attention to the speaker.
  • Engage: Show a gesture towards the speaker to make them feel you’re engaged in what they are saying.
  • Anticipate: Look straight at the speaker and acknowledge what they are saying.
  • Replay: Analyse the information received and discuss it.

5. Pay Attention To Student’s Problems

The definition of good teaching includes paying undivided attention to student’s problems as every child is unique, and their ability to grasp and understand a subject varies from others. A great mentor steps into students’ shoes and studies the challenges of students.

6. Don’t Overload Students With Homework

Overloading students with homework leads to burn-out and stress, which eventually results in a loss of interest in any subject. A teacher has to carefully assign homework to their classes so that the students perform their best in every task.

As per the study, 57% of parents felt their child was assigned the right amount of homework; another 23% thought it was too little; 19% thought it was too much. 

Hence, we can conclude that homework is more effective when it does not exceed 10-20 minutes each day for children in grade K-2, and for older children, it should not exceed 30-60 minutes a day.

Instead of assigning them monotonous homework assignments, you can look for other fun ways to help students learn the concepts and remember them.

7. Teaches Students Life Skills

We all know life skills are more important than academic skills. Yet, schools don’t truly value life skills and instead overlook it by sweeping it under the rug.

According to the survey of 2000 American adults by H&R Block, 57% believed that a course on financial management and budgeting in high school would help them; another 44% said that they would have liked a class explaining how to file taxes.

Hence, a teacher should give utmost importance to life skills and start sharing topics about it since 84% of people said they have never utilized what they learned in school once they graduated.

Examples of life skills are:

  • Negotiation skills
  • Interview skills
  • Social and interpersonal skills
  • Financial Budgeting
  • Public speaking, etc

8. Address The Problems In Your School

No school is perfect, but there’s always room for improvement. So how do you improve your schools and provide quality education? Obviously, by addressing the problems prevailing in the school premises.

There can be several problems in schools, and addressing them is the teacher’s duty as it helps you become a teacher with great professional qualities.

9. Have A Plan

Planning is an essential factor in time management. Every professional teacher has the qualities to enter the class with a defined plan in their mind to ensure a smooth learning process for the students.

A daily plan consists of the following pointers:

  • what they will be teaching,
  • how they will deliver the content,
  • what will be the classwork and homework,
  • what activities can be done, etc.

Also, teachers must prepare a personal plan that includes the mini-goals they set for themselves.

10. Build Better Parent-Teacher Relationships

One of the most significant issues faced by educators is arrogant parents. Maintaining an excellent parent-teacher relationship signifies one of the best professional qualities that a teacher can have.

It is ingrained in parents to blame the child’s low grades, behavior, etc., on their schoolteacher. However, learning to manage grievances can help a teacher establish a better relationship with the parents.

11. Help Parents To Handle A Bad Report Card

Parents always want the best for their kids, and sometimes this attitude can do more harm than good, especially when their child gets bad grades. Just because parents have the best intention for their child doesn’t mean that they will do everything right.

It’s the teacher’s role to have a cordial relationship with their student’s parents and make them understand their kids’ challenges, thereby letting them handle a bad report card better.

12. Care For Your Students

Teaching is not just limited to academic development, as it also focuses on a child’s emotional development. These days, there are children in the class who come from broken families or have faced some unfortunate incidents in the past. Such children might face difficulties in engaging with class activities.

According to a study from Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, empathy towards children and drawing learnings from one’s own experiences help teachers connect with their students on a deeper level.

One of a teacher’s good characteristics is showing commitment toward handling each child with care instead of punishing them unnecessarily.

Teachers need to be caring because, most of the time, all that a student seeks is a little attention and affection that they may not receive at home. Hence, it’s always best to have qualities like empathy, kindness, and compassion in a professional teacher.

13. Help Students Overcome Homesickness

Students staying away from home can suffer from homesickness that may hinder them from enjoying their school and college lives.

Identifying students facing such problems and helping them overcome homesickness is one of a great teacher’s characteristics.

14. Inspire Your Students

For children, the definition of a great teacher is someone whom they look up to for inspiration. What you say and what you do have a lasting effect on the minds of these children. You may never know which child has been inspired by your deeds or actions, or words.

15. Be Enthusiastic

Enthusiasm is one of the critical characteristics of the teaching profession as one needs to be enthusiastic about what they teach, and it should reflect in their teaching methods.

For example, if you are an English language educator who’s teaching a Jungle Book lesson, don’t just read it. Instead, narrate the story with emotion and let your students enact the play.

Add life to the play by incorporating dancing, singing, acting, and mimicking. You can include humor and modulate your voice to bring some experience to the class, as students always love to learn from teachers who are passionate about their teaching content.

16. Use Students’ Strengths

If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. – Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada

It is easy to poke at other’s weaknesses but not their strengths. However, a great teacher always analyses their students’ strengths first and then prepares their content based on it. Each child has a different learning style, and a teacher should keep in mind students’ strengths while preparing a lesson for them.

17. Think Outside The Box

Creativity is the key! Yes, if you keep teaching using the same content and activities for ages, you can never excel in a teaching career. Many students get easily bored and distracted in class because of the teacher’s inability to break the methodical approach.

Find ways to let your creative juices flow to make learning a fun activity for your students without disrupting their focus and attention on the subject.

18. Have A Welcoming Approach

Having a welcoming attitude helps students feel warm and appreciated. If you notice them having doubts or specific questions, it is a teacher’s job to always encourage them and answer their questions.

It might also happen that you don’t have the answer to their doubts. In such cases, tell them that you will get back to them as soon as possible without raising your voice at the child as it can result in low confidence in them.

19. Be A Mentor

We cannot stress enough the importance of being a good mentor first. A student is dependent on their mentor for teachings, wisdom, and learning about different life experiences as mentors guide their students to prepare them in handling life’s adversities.

The role of a mentor includes the following:

  • shares positive criticism,
  • challenges the students,
  • and help them grow into a better person.

20. Instill Values & Ethics

Values and ethics are professional qualities that help teachers not blur the line of their moral code. It helps them distinguish between right and wrong and determine if their behavior is justified. Students need these qualities in them, which will help them thrive in society and contribute to the community in a meaningful way.

A good mentor always instills values and conveys the importance of having ethics among children through their lessons.

As people relate to personal stories, you can narrate your own experiences to teach and instill morals in a child and enable them to understand the importance of the people around them, respect different opinions and nature, and be beautiful human beings.

Concluding Thoughts

Everyone can be a better teacher in little ways. It’s common to feel lost sometimes and at times like this, talk to someone but never give up on yourself or your students. Take the utmost care of your health, as teaching is a tough job. Remember, becoming a better teacher doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes time. So don’t stress yourself out and enjoy your profession at its best.

What do you think are the qualities of a good teacher? Share your thoughts below in the comments section. You can also hit subscribe to stay tuned with us for more awesome content.

Key Takeaways On How To Be A Good Teacher:

  • A good and effective teacher is someone who shoulders big responsibilities in shaping children’s lives beautifully.
  • It takes years of experience and patience to become a great teacher.
  • Caring, enthusiasm, good planner, excellent communication, and great listening skills are all positive characteristics of a teacher.
  • A teacher helps their students become valuable members of society who will contribute to the humankind’s welfare in the future.
  • Qualification and aptitude are the two teaching skills that every teacher must possess.
  • It would be best if you embraced lifelong learning to become an excellent educator in the future.
  • Learning about new technology can make the whole teaching process seamless for your students.
  • For instance, you can incorporate PPTs, online games, activities, etc., in your learning process to make it more engaging.
  • Communication is a crucial skill for every educator as it enables the students to convey their issues more effectively with you.
  • Lastly, a great mentor always inspires their students to give their best at everything, irrespective of the result.

How can I be a better teacher?

Learn, learn, and learn! Yes, to be a better teacher, you should never stop learning. As things are constantly changing and evolving, you also have to adapt to those changes.

How long does it take to become a good teacher?

How long it takes shouldn’t be a matter of concern, but your willingness to be one is! We don’t have to make a profession a rat race by giving it a time constraint to achieve your goals.

What are the skills of a good teacher? 

  • Empathy towards the students.
  • Listening skills or lending an ear to the students.
  • Understanding a student’s point of view.
  • Patience while handling their students.

Is teaching a promising career?

Teaching is one of the most respected professions across the globe. There’s no better reward than seeing your students do well in their life.

Felicia is a full-time teacher and a freelancer with an interest in blogging. She is also a die-hard fan of the 'Friends' series.