While you may not campaign for Teacher of the Year, being a good educator is essential. After all, entering this profession assumes a desire to help students learn more about themselves and the world. Those just entering the teaching profession may wonder what characteristics aid in being the best teacher, whether you work with preschoolers or college students.
Here are just a few (of many) factors that contribute to being a quality educator no matter what grade level you teach.
- Open and willing to accept change. Education constantly evolves, from year to year, and sometimes minute by minute (think – fire drill in the middle of a test). The ability to expect things to change and adapt quickly can save your sanity and create a learning environment where students can succeed no matter what the circumstances.
- A good listener. When we hear what students are saying, we can better understand their needs as individuals and adjust accordingly. Sometimes the teacher is the only person a child feels comfortable talking to about school or personal issues.
- Flexible communication skills. Most educators can easily talk to students, but communication also involves effectively dealing with parents in positive and negative situations and presenting lessons in varied formats to reach all learners. Teachers should be able to use various media, from whiteboards and tablets to personal notes and pats on the back to reach the classroom and school community.
- Commitment to self-improvement. Virtually all teachers not only value learning but enjoy it. Professional development is crucial, whether you want to brush up on your mathematics or reading skills or attend a summer in-service on computer games that increase collaborative learning.
- Enjoy your job. No job is fun 100% of the time, but educators who love teaching reflect that in their attitude. Students are more engaged with teachers who are excited to impart a new concept or project.
- Maintain a sense of humor. Sometimes things that go wrong make you want to cry, but it’s always better to laugh. Keeping a positive attitude and taking problems in stride benefits your mental health and creates a better classroom environment.
Whether you are a first-year teacher or it’s your 30th, you still can make a favorable impression on your students and positively impact their lives.