What Makes a Great Teacher

The truth is, nearly anyone can be a teacher. And most people can be great teachers. The trick to making it appear as though a person had been born to be a teacher is using his or her strengths to enhance his or her teaching career. For example, highly organized and structured individuals thrive while giving lectures and quizzes while rebellious and whimsical individuals thrive on more artistic methods of delivering information.

So, if there are rebellious individuals who thrive on creative ways of teaching, why do we need the boring lectures? Because just as there are teachers with different strengths, there are also students with different strengths. Some students comprehend lectures faster and more easily than they do the abstract project. Having a wide range of teaching methods ensures that every student will receive information in a way that he or she can retain.

According to both the Keirsey Temperament Sorter  and the more popular Myers and Briggs personality tests, there are four distinctive temperaments under which a person can fall. Each one of these temperaments holds its own set of strengths and weaknesses. A person with a high level of self awareness who can recognize these strengths and use them to enhance his or her teaching skills will make a great teacher. In fact, only one of the main temperaments makes for a weak teacher, the Artisan, because their strengths lie in constant change; yet even an Artisan who understands this weakness can use it to develop an incredible teaching method.

Some people will say that being a great teacher requires that you love children, love the subject you teach, and other more altruistic ideals. On the contrary, being a great teacher first requires a love to teach – regardless of the age group of your students and no matter the subject.

Why people believe that a person must love children in order to teach baffles the mind. What of College or University professors? Graduate school professors? Trade school and Vocational school teachers? Trainers that work in various fields? Each of these are teachers who do not work with children, so a love of children is obsolete.

In regard to the love of the subject, this may work for some of the more traditional teachers such as science or math. But for those people who love art, music, shop, or even history this makes for a very narrow field. And in a world where more and more classes are being stricken from the curriculum, limiting a teaching career to only those subjects which a person loves may lead him straight to the unemployment line.

To be a truly great teacher requires a love to teach: a want to share the knowledge which a person holds, and an understanding of how to share that knowledge in a way that best suits him or her. The educational field needs and thrives on a variety of teachers, from the lecturers to the singers; so there is room for nearly every teaching type. Understanding yourself is the key to developing your teaching career.