What Qualities Make an Effective Teacher

Being an effective teacher can either be learned or innate. Basically, it has to do with a person who is pragmatic enough to adjust his or her teaching style to where classroom dynamics result positive outcomes. It cannot be assumed anyone who has acquired a teaching degree or possesses a master’s in education necessarily becomes a good teacher. Special qualities are needed to make an effective teacher: genuine love of teaching, liking for children, sense of humor, outside experiences other than teaching, good organization, and definitely a good work ethic. The best rule of thumb is to never bore one’s students. Try to teach them something new every class and one will become an effective teacher.


An effective teacher is one who recognizes that teaching is not a 9-5 job; teaching goes above and beyond these parameters. A teacher who leaves school at the last bell is not a dedicated one. Expect to take assignments home to mark at night; expect that some weekends will be occupied with school when it comes to report cards, rehearsals, band trips, coaching, etc.; any extra-curricular activities a teacher may be involved in, as teaching is not the only task they are involved with in this profession. Being lazy will not cut it.

Many hours are involved with effective lesson planning. Although many people view teaching as standing in front of the students and orating for a few hours, they do not realize behind-the-scenes preparation and organization. How a teacher handles himself/herself in front of the class is indicative of the planning that has gone beforehand.


An effective teacher must be able to focus, set goals, plan strategies and outcomes that benefit his/her students. Activities and tasks within or outside the classroom continue the teaching mode with good organization. It may seem impossible, but yes, there is such a thing as a “perfect” lesson plan. These capsules of information reflect both hard work, organization, and experience. An effective teacher analyzes what has gone well with a lesson and looks at areas of improvement. Besides imparting knowledge, an effective teacher will bring in as many facets or aspects of life he/she has experienced. In this way, he/she has made the lesson relative and meaningful to students. In addition, they learn better conceptually. Being able to organize and facilitate information and activities in any classroom is a teaching plus.


An effective teacher exudes confidence and inspires his/her students to ask questions. Boredom is one of those conditions no teacher wants to have in his/her classroom. An effective teacher must be enthusiastic (even when he is tired), always brings new light to challenging subjects, does not teach in the same manner every day. Above all, teachers should be well-groomed as students scrutinize every part of a teacher’s appearance to the point of being critical or judgmental. A pleasing vision in front of them makes students more inclined to listen.

Personal Attributes

Sense of humor – Students enjoy teachers who are a bit “off the wall”, sometimes to the point of being quirky. Since students usually have the “us against them” mentality, it helps to be a bit different, posing less of a threat as an adult.

Fairness – Students want to be treated alike and equally, as people know how unpopular “teacher’s pets” are. An effective teacher shows no favoritism towards the brighter students, and shows the same approach toward all his/her proteges.

Standards – Students know about teaching down to them. A teacher who sets high standards for his/her students to attain is a more effective teacher. When students come up to a teacher’s high expectations, they know they have achieved something that is worthwhile.

Discipline – This is probably one of the most difficult areas for teacher, to be consistent in his/her disciplinary strategies. The most effective teachers are ones who are consistent with how they handle a student. From experience, a teacher never has an argument with a student in front of the class. An effective teacher will take the student outside, away from his peers where he cannot possibly back down in front of them. Peer pressure is great. At the same time, action speaks louder than words.

The Common Denominator

An effective teacher will zero in on the trouble-maker, the loner, the underachiever, to give them special attention, as this is what they are craving. By complimenting trouble-makers on their efforts, taking underachievers through their first steps, and walking with slower students one step at a time, the teacher encourages students to excel, just like when they were learning to walk as toddlers and encouraged by their parents.

An effective teacher is one who reaches out to individual students, because in this way, they are able to make a difference in the classroom and impact a conducive learning environment.