A significant difference lies between being a regular teacher and an extraordinary teacher with exceptional leadership capabilities and charisma. The impact of good teachers on their students is immeasurable and is often why those bright young minds become lifelong learners. That’s why it’s safe to say that such exemplary teachers have the power to make remarkable differences in their student’s life.
But before we discuss the traits and qualities of an excellent teacher, let’s first enquire if you remember any inspirational figure from your school time. Maybe a teacher who helped you, inspired you, and instilled the confidence that has molded you into what you’ve become today? If you had such a person in your life during your student years, you already understand the importance of a good teacher. In today’s time, however, learning styles and pedagogies are fast evolving, giving students much authority over their learning experiences. Still, teachers are integral in steering the entire student body towards academic and professional success.
So, let’s discuss what essential qualities make excellent teachers in today’s era:
Can you recall which classes you enjoyed the most? Where you weren’t half drooling in your sleep because the drawing lectures bored you out of your mind. We can go on a limb to say that the classes you enjoyed were the ones with the most captivating lectures and engaging teachers.
So, as a teacher, you must learn to foster creativity to ensure that your course curricula are as engaging and interesting as possible. Likewise, focus on leveraging advanced teaching methods and tools to grasp the attention of today’s learners. Pursuing a master’s degree in education will prove worth your time and effort since you’ll learn how to utilize unconventional teaching styles while developing essential skills.
Captivating lessons ensure that all the students are actively listening and learning and are aroused to participate in the lesson. For this reason, you can use several online teaching tools now available to instructors.
Another critical quality of an excellent teacher in current times is empathy. But to understand why this quality is crucial, let’s look into it with an example. Imagine that there’s a student who, despite your detailed lessons, help, and advice, keeps on scoring low marks in their exam. Naturally, any other person in your position would get angry at the kid for not trying their best since you’re putting in so much effort.
However, you’re most likely unaware of the kid’s condition, what issues they face at home, or if they’re battling a learning disability. Or, you’re unable to tap into their multiple intelligences. While the concept of multiple intelligence is gradually penetrating the academic sector, it’s still taking time for most academicians to accept it. So, as a teacher, it’s your utmost responsibility to be more empathetic to your student’s situations and become emotionally available to them. Being empathetic and understanding will enable them to open up to you and for you to discover their multiple intelligences.
Remember that their mental and physical health will play a role in their education, so be as aware of these factors as you are of their academic performance.
It may seem that communication is a basic skill needed to become a teacher, but people fail to realize how quickly things can go awry if they’re not communicating properly. In other words, you may think you’re a good communicator when the reality may not be the case.
Therefore, to communicate properly and effectively in class, you must initiate conversation from both sides. It means you have to encourage feedback and be more open to questions or even criticism from students. Moreover, make your class a safe space where open communication is encouraged and appreciated. Also, remember that maintaining a strict and authoritarian environment will not invoke much of a positive response from students.
4. Experiential knowledge
All the lessons written in books won’t hold much meaning to students if they aren’t applied to a real-life context. The ability to correlate bookish knowledge with real-life scenarios is another quality widely found in exemplary teachers.
If you have worked in several fields, traveled worldwide, or gained vast experiences, it will help shape your skills as a teacher. So, when a student asks you, “When are we going to use this in real life?” you can answer the question about how a single perspective in the book fits in the bigger picture – practical life.
5. Understand student motivation
Understanding what motivates the student is crucial to becoming an excellent teacher. Since each student has different interests, you’ll have to utilize different tactics to motivate them. For instance, some students will be able to keep their ambitions and passions in mind, reconcile them with what’s taught in the class, and acquire motivation from it. However, most students will require external motivators. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll have to deal with students who aren’t sure what motivates them and can’t seem to connect with whatever is happening around them.
Fortunately, an excellent teacher knows how to come up with ways to contextualize motivators in the class and help students connect with the lessons.
6. Focus on what’s important
All little things such as worrying about late comers or teaching a bulk of information at a time to cover the course won’t matter if the kids aren’t learning. As a teacher, know what is most important and how to tackle small issues to focus on more critical matters such as student’s academic performance and skill development.
Besides, students who skip classes or display tardiness are simply facing underlying issues. Instead of being overly strict, know when to involve the counselors and administration to help the students.
Becoming a teacher in today’s time is immensely different from what it used to be in the previous few decades. Following an authoritative teaching style will not yield fruitful results in today’s classrooms since learners demand control over their learning experiences. What makes teachers excellent and exemplary today are specific skills and qualities that have emerged recently in the academic sphere. These include being creative, empathetic, effective communicator, and motivator. Alongside this, it’s also crucial to possess ample experience to impart to the students and focus on important learning matters instead of minor misconduct.