How To Be A Great Teacher: 19 Qualities You Should Possess

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverbs

Become a Teacher 101

“Teacher! Teacher!! I don’t understand.”

Those were the constant words teachers would hear me yelling from the back of the classroom. Luckily I had some great teachers and mentors who did not get discouraged and would help to inspire me to reach new heights.

We are all unique beings with diverse talents, and each of us has the capacity to teach others. Fortunately teaching does not have to be something that is confined solely to the classroom.

We can all contribute something valuable, and if we cultivate a few qualities we can make our contribution more meaningful by teaching and motivating others along the way.

Below are some qualities I feel that one should strive for to become a great teacher. Remember to not overestimate others and never underestimate yourself. If you look deep enough you have something to teach the world. One of the greatest feelings you will ever get is to be a part of another human beings journey.

I Want To Become a Teacher Where Do I Start: The Top 19 Qualities To Cultivate

1. Engaging/ Relevant: Teaching is a two way street, if the student is not engaged, your efforts will have been wasted. You need to get a student interested, excited, and enthusiastic about learning. Get to know your students desires. How can you teach in a way that is relevant to the things they want?

2. Good Evaluators: Good teachers are aware of their student’s skill sets and abilities. They are able to teach without getting to far ahead of their students abilities. They are able to stimulate the student to the next level of progress. They know when to push their students and when to back off and give them space to contemplate on their own.

3. Creative: To be become a great teacher you need to have an open mind and be creative in your approaches to teaching. Everyone learns in different ways, so you must find creative and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience.

4. Good Attitude: Your attitude determines everything. When you have a great attitude you take great pride in sharing what you know, and the student will also be more receptive to you.

5. Clear/Concise: One of my pet peeves was when my teachers made a simple exercise complicated by giving unclear instructions. Many times people like to complicate things to seem intelligent or superior. Remember this is not about you; make sure you make it as easy as possible for a student to learn.

6. Organized: Time is precious and many don’t have the luxury to spend large amounts of time learning something new. Make sure to think ahead of anything you might need and be prepared so that you are able to focus on the learning experience.

7. Clear Objectives: Students need a target, be upfront with what they will be learning. If your idea is too vague or abstract a student will see no point in paying attention.

8. Empathy: Depending on your students abilities, learning complex ideas can be emotionally draining. When your students hit a wall or an obstacle, empathize with them. Try to focus on the positive, find ways to encourage them to fight through the difficulties.

9.Flexible: Many times things don’t go according to plan, if something is not working, re group and try a new approach.

10. Genuine/ Interested: Have a sincere interest in your students, if they know you care, they will go the extra mile to do their part. This is also an opportunity for you to learn as well.

11. Sober/ Professional: I remember having a few college professors who had to be hung over; there could not be another explanation to why the lecture was so terrible. Your appearance matters as well, think about what context and learning environment you will be in.

12. Knowledgeable: As obvious as this sounds, if you are not knowledgeable on a certain topic how can you teach it to someone else. Once you have your objective, make sure you do the necessary research, so that you can be confident in your ability to teach. If you are teaching something that is highly specialized, make sure you make the effort to continue your education. Subscribe to trade magazines, read up on the latest developments, go to seminars, etc.

13. Balance: Creating balance in our lives is critical. If we are to be good teachers we need to have a good balance in our mind, body, and spirit. When we neglect a certain aspect to our being, its effects spill over and sabotage our efforts.

14. Inspiring: A teacher who can inspire their students has the potential to awaken talents that the students where not even aware they possessed. Someone who is inspired will go to great lengths to see their objective carried out.

15. Confidence: A teacher who is confident in himself will teach in a way that instills confidence in the student. The student will be assured that what they are learning is valuable and accurate. If a student senses that you are not confident in yourself will doubt your abilities to teach. If my friend is teaching me how to attract a woman, but he himself is not confident in his ideas, how will I be confident in applying what he is trying to teach me.

16. Respectful: Learn to be aware of age, gender, and cultural differences. We all come from different backgrounds learn to be respectful and seek to understand others.

17. Clear Expectations: Don’t promise a Mercedes Benz if you can only deliver a Ford Escort. Make sure you set realistic expectations in your student, then strive to go above and beyond.

18. Keep your ego in check: This is all about the learning process, don’t take anything personally when you commit a mistake or your student proves that you are wrong. Teaching is a very fulfilling and rewarding experience if you don’t let your ego get involved.

19. Adaptable: Finally the last quality to a great teacher is his ability to adapt. Change is the only constant, when circumstances change, learn to let go and embrace whatever is needed to progress.

Well there you have it, 19 qualities that if you are able cultivate within you, will almost guarantee that you become a successful teacher in and out of the classroom.

If you are a teacher who would like to live and work abroad check out this post: “How To leave America and Become a Vagabond”

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21 Responses to How To Be A Great Teacher: 19 Qualities You Should Possess

  1. I think a good teacher is also a good listener. He / she needs to HEAR the questions in order to answer them, and be able to relate to the student asking it.

  2. I like how these qualities imply a certain initiative … that we must first want to be a great teacher in order to be one.

    These qualities are also great for being a great student 🙂
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..To have a nice day … =-.

  3. Thanks for the article. Having been a teacher (and a principal), I agree! I would have liked to see “honest” on the list. For example, sometimes a teacher just doesn’t know the answer. Being able to say “I don’t know” is ok, and being able to admit mistakes is divine. We learn from “failing” as much as we learn from success, if not more so. (Failing does not mean being a failure.)
    .-= Stephen Fofanoff´s last blog ..The World Famous Sailboat Method =-.

  4. Hi Ivan,

    Good stuff here! I used to teach and you’ve outlined some of the most important qualities. If I had to add a 20th, it would be a Democratic Spirit.

    Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and let the students take you where you need to go. When you get to set on trying to control the classroom environment, sometimes what you’re teaching is flying right over the students’ heads. Or worse, you could be boring them!

    I’d often let the students take the reins, and see where that took us. Most often, it would be interesting. They’d be active, engaged, and we’d all learn in the process. Even me!

    Miche 🙂
    .-= Miche´s last blog ..How to Get From Boredom to Intuition =-.

  5. Your article is very good, it’s clear enough and can be understood for me..
    Hmm, btw…
    I ask permission to copy ur article for my presentation…
    Thank you be4.. 🙂

  6. hii really appreciate ur experience and ur way of life and i want to thank you for your valuabal site which benifits me

  7. It was really inspiring. I was so angry to one of my kid to write b as d intensionally so that i make her a chance to leave. So I’ve decided to bit him. Nah nothing personally. I will make him to write 8 page in front of me while i will practice applied math.

  8. Yupppee..U’ve said wel…I think ‘self control’ shud b dia…A teacher z suposd 2 hav d ability of cntroln him/her slf..Thos teachn in lower institutns shud cntrl dmselvs both in flogng n words of d mouth,sum chldren cud b anoyn u knw..Puntuality shud b dia 2…’stop cumin late 2 sch dz boy’..Liv by example..Am a teacher¤

  9. I really appreciate your interesting helpful article which greatly remind us of how our attitude should be conducted for us to be who we are(good teachers). I am so far content with the article that i neither add nor subtract.
    Thank you.

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