The Qualities that Make a Great Teacher

Teachers do much more than just deliver mandated curriculum. Teachers touch lives. They do so in a manner that is not always recognizable at first, but may come to you later in life. An effective teacher gives students the skills necessary to attack life with relentless zeal. They blaze a trail and inspire students to see things differently, to see themselves in a different light. To teach is to impact a life forever.

An effective teacher is also well aware that they have much to learn themselves, and that they can be taught by students. A credo of many effective teachers is that every person is their superior in that they may learn from them. An effective teacher has a unique skill-set that allows them to gain the trust and respect of their students, and then to use that to their advantage in the quest to motivate their students to achieve beyond their wildest imagination.

Everybody has had a teacher that filled them with the thirst for knowledge. Every teacher is different, but the most effective ones are those that have left an indelible print not only on our mind, but on our soul as well. Teachers give freely of themselves, often with very little fanfare. The most effective teachers tend to have a fairly similar philosophical pedigree; patient, wise, respectful, disciplinary, adaptable, fair, enthusiastic, and confident.

Teachers must be patient while at the helm of the classroom. Effective teachers need patience because it is hard to determine the best possible teaching strategies for a room full of students, each of whom has a distinct learning strategy that works best for them. There is always a wide berth of difference amongst the students, and an effective teacher needs to know how to navigate this correctly.

Being patient allows the teacher to appear calm, which is picked up by the students, thus allowing them the courage to remain patient as well. Learning is a lifelong process that cannot be hurried along, lest it become filled with mistakes and regrets. Patience is a virtue known by the wisest of teachers.

Wisdom is what is needed by effective teachers in order to impart knowledge upon their students. A wise teacher will be able to ascertain the best methods of getting a lesson across to the entire class. Smart people may know the answer, or how to arrive at an answer, but a wise person can help other people to figure things out for themselves. A teacher has a short period of time with which to try and mold a student into a person that is longing for more information.

Being respectful is a two-way street. An effective teacher knows that in order to earn respect from students, you must first give them the respect they feel they deserve. With respect comes the ability to effectively dole out discipline, and to do so in the fairest manner possible. Discipline must always be consistent, so that students know what to expect.

The integrity of the teacher can be called into question if there is a perception that fairness is not being taught to all students. Once there is respect, the effective teacher can concern themselves with the task at hand of teaching.

The world is rapidly changing. Technology is speeding along with reckless abandon, and teachers must constantly struggle to keep up with the way the world is working. Each new generation of children is growing up in a different style of world, and the way in which they are exposed to new ideas must be creative in order to keep up with their fast paced world.

An effective teacher is adaptable to their surroundings, keeping current with technology. The learning styles of students are vastly different as well, so an effective teacher needs to utilize auditory, visual, and kinesthetic methods of delivering information, while making it understandable to their students.

An enthusiastic teacher can sustain the attention of a student for a longer period of time than a teacher that is not enthusiastic. If the student believes that the teacher is passionate about a subject, they may be more inclined to pay attention and contribute to discussions. Students are unwilling to buy something that a teacher is selling if they do not feel as though the teacher stands behind the topic.

No matter the subject matter, an effective teacher should make the effort to bring each subject matter to life in an exhilarating manner. This will help them to grab and keep a hold of their attention.

Confidence is catchy. Teachers that carry themselves in a confident manner may be able to win the trust over a student that feels they are misunderstood or under-appreciated. A confident teacher can also make the material of the course come to life, and perhaps inspire their students to remain engaged in a lesson, going along for the ride.

Confidence may also be transferred over to students, giving them the courage to speak up and ask questions or to challenge ideas or concepts that seem incorrect. The effective teacher knows that there is more than one way to look at any given topic. Students should be encouraged to speak up and present new thoughts on old topics.

Effective teachers all tend to have the aforementioned qualities. These tend to be the teachers that are most fondly remembered as a student begins to age and takes a moment to wax nostalgic about how they found the path they are currently journeying upon.