What Qualities Make a Good Teacher? 7 Traits to Consider

There are many different career paths that people take to become teachers. For many, they knew since they were a child that they wanted to pursue a teaching career, whereas others may have established themselves in a different career and then made the switch to teaching.

What they all have in common, however, is that teaching is more than a career—it’s a calling.

We touch on this more in our blog, Teaching as a Mission: Building a Brighter Future. Being a teacher requires a unique set of skills that sets it apart from many other professions. The hours are different, the typical day is different, and the qualities of a good teacher are different from other careers.

But what are those qualities, exactly?

Let’s explore.

1. Being a Good Listener

If you’re wondering how to be a good teacher, this is a critical place to start.

One of the most distinct ways your workplace as a teacher is unique is that you will spend most of your time with children. Whether you’re teaching kindergartners or high school students, it is very different from working with adults.

Sometimes this means listening as much to what they aren’t saying as much as to what they are saying. It means learning how they communicate, even though they sometimes struggle to communicate. 

More than that, it’s important to be a good listener for their parents and guardians, your peer teachers, and school administrators.


2. Being a Good Communicator

In addition, one of the most important characteristics of a good teacher is also to be a good communicator.

Of course, this includes your actual classroom instruction and being able to communicate clearly and effectively so the students can learn what they need to learn

However, good communication also goes beyond instruction, such as setting expectations for behavior in class, helping students plan for projects and assignments, and keeping open lines of dialogue with their parents and guardians.


3. Confidence

Teaching requires confidence.

Being a teacher involves speaking in the front of the room to your class. It’s as if you are permanently “on stage,” so you need to be comfortable with having all eyes on you and holding your students’ attention for most of the day.

If you’re not comfortable with that or confident in the material you’re teaching, your students will be able to tell and it will be very difficult to have control of your classroom.

Check out this article for tips on how teachers build confidence.


4. Problem-Solving Skills

Classrooms can sometimes be chaotic. 

Being a problem solver as a teacher is a valuable skill that the best teachers use regularly.

Solving problems as a teacher might involve resolving conflict between students, removing distractions, helping students through complex material, and keeping students focused during those hectic days.

The key to all of this is flexibility, understanding the root of the problems, and being creative about coming up with solutions.


5. Passion 

Passion is universal and simple: the more you love what you do, the more effective you will be.

Think about the best teachers you’ve had in your life. How did they inspire you? What did they all have in common?

Chances are, they were all passionate about being a teacher and the subject they were teaching.

If you don’t love what you do, your students will feel your lack of energy and won’t be as engaged or excited as they could be. Being a teacher isn’t an easy job, but if you have a passion for what you’re doing, you can be the kind of teacher who gets the best out of their students.


6. Empathy

Are you a “people person?”

Most of the best teachers are.

This doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert with consistently high energy. But, because teaching is such an interpersonal job, you have to be able to understand people and be an empathetic person.

What does empathy look like for teachers?

Empathy is remembering that many students have problems at home that might affect their performance at school.

Empathy is knowing that every student has a different learning style and some may struggle with certain subjects or lesson types.

Empathy is seeking positive outcomes for everyone involved when it comes to conflict between students.

If you want to be a good teacher, having strong empathy is a vital skill.


7. Patience

Let’s put it simply: students are going to test your patience.

To be a good teacher, you have to be patient. In fact, according to the Association for Middle Level Education, “Teacher patience is the heart of students’ long-term retention of content and skills.”

As we already mentioned, the best teachers recognize that students all learn in different ways at different paces, so patience and understanding are critical to helping your students develop their skills and knowledge throughout the school year.

Students will test your patience in many different ways, but when you see them grasp hard lessons, form bonds with their classmates, and connect with you over the year, it’s all worth it.


Should I Be a Teacher?

These skills are all critical to becoming a good teacher, but it’s important to know that you don’t need to already have these skills in order to pursue a teaching career. 

When you earn your teaching degree, the programs will teach you what you need to know and help you develop the skills needed to become a great teacher.

Here at Southern Adventist University, we offer two teaching degrees:

We encourage you to explore the programs above to see which might be the right fit for you. You can also continue reading with this helpful post, How to Become a Teacher: A Step-by-Step Guide.

About the Author

Southern Adventist University

Southern Adventist University

Southern Adventist University is a private Seventh-day Adventist college in Collegedale, Tennessee. Our practical graduate programs equip you with in-demand skills and experience that transfer directly into your career path. We hope to help you accomplish your dreams!

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