Learning remains a lifelong and ever-present endeavor for everyone. And teachers who assume the responsibility of showing the way play a crucial and decisive role. The ideal teacher commands a respectful balance of professional degrees, soft skills, and personality traits that go beyond certifications and licenses.
So, what are these attributes and skills you should practice as a teacher or expect as a learner? The answer covers a wide range of qualities and indicators that are acknowledged by all but found among few.
Here’s a brief yet comprehensive breakdown of each trait, skill, and quality that go into the making of the most competent yet considerate teachers.
The ability to communicate effectively always remains one of the most essential qualities of someone in the teaching fraternity. This implies having the skill to put across ideas, instructions, or inspiration in a variety of ways.
Here are a few examples:
- Choosing the appropriate words for verbal/spoken communication.
- Developing good posture and body language for effective non-verbal cues.
- Ability to pen down clear sentences that appeal to the reader’s level of understanding or education.
- Ability to actively participate in one-on-one communication that is personalized
- Ability to address and communicate with a gathering or class of students.
- Leveraging the effect of audio-visual cues that can enhance verbal or written communication.
Regardless of your expertise or familiarity with the subject matter, effective learning only happens when you can communicate coherently. And this is best achieved when you can cater to all the different ways learners receive information.
2. Passion and Commitment
Any culture will agree with the adage that teaching remains the noblest of professions. You can see this virtue stand out the most in teachers who display an unrelenting commitment to their cause.
People in teaching positions do not always start out with the profession as a goal. While some people fall into the role by circumstance, others actively pursue it as a career. Regardless of your back story, your dedication to the role determines the quality of learning for your listeners.
If you’re a fresh candidate just starting out in your teaching career, don’t worry. Teaching and mentorship is a passion that you can cultivate along the way. Acquired passion will accomplish as much as natural devotion to a pursuit.
3. Planning and Coordination
The ability to organize and plan well remains an underrated quality that the best teachers possess. Whether it’s promoting cooperation between pupils or organizing resources required in carrying out a project, your coordination skills will always be in demand.
Your organizing skills will prove useful in the following instances:
- Assigning responsibilities
- Allocating resources
- Creating class events
- Managing mass projects
- Maintaining student records and details
- Tracking pupil progress, etc.
While these are some everyday examples of where your organizing skills will matter, there are tons of other recurring tasks and areas where it will be needed.
4. Ability to Lead
Serving as a teacher will naturally grant you some authority over learners. However, maintaining it and converting it to real results requires work. Also, you may have to manage a class that consists of diverse ages and backgrounds. Even in such cases, you need to command both authority and influence over those in your class.
In any group or congregation, the leader often assumes the responsibility of keeping everyone in order. You may encounter the fringe character that simply won’t cooperate or the proverbial teacher’s pet who may exhibit an eagerness to please. As an instructor, your role demands the ability to engage both these extremes and all other characters in between.
Granted, these qualities of leadership do not simply appear the moment you take up the teacher’s mantle. However, active effort on your part to practice these skills and develop the traits will translate into concrete ability with time.
As veteran basketball coach John Wooden observed, the best leaders are, first, extraordinary teachers. So, if you’re already a teacher or aspiring to be one, you’re already on the right path to true leadership.
Most cultures have the admirable practice of showing respect to anyone in a teaching role. As a beneficiary of this practice, you can both gracefully accept it and actively show it towards others too. Exceptional teachers will command respect with dignity and extend respect to others in humility.
In tune with your role as a leader and influencer, the responsibility to show what respect means is also a crucial practice. For some students, you may be the only example of showing respect they ever see. For others, it may reaffirm the need to show and gain respect even if they already understand its importance.
Instilling the idea of belonging to a team is crucial in your role as a teacher. This is especially needed in groups where members are both diverse and represent different cultures or worldviews.
Depending on the course you teach or your subject matter, students belonging to different orientations may enter your teaching fray. Whether it’s through group projects or simple classroom activities, the teacher’s ability to play different roles along with the students will be a crucial task.
Additionally, teaching often implies serving as part of a faculty or institution. This means cooperating with colleagues and sharing responsibilities are important elements in your collaborative pursuits.
The ideal teacher possesses is dynamic enough to respond appropriately to changing circumstances and unexpected developments. Classrooms and teaching environments are complex networks of individuals and behaviors.
Research revealed that a teacher’s degree of adaptability directly affects the student’s performance as well as the teacher’s own mental well-being. That’s reason enough to sharpen your adaptive skills as you continue developing those essential traits expected of a teacher.
Here are some instances where the teacher’s agility in responding to change matters greatly:
- Dealing appropriately with the distinct culture, background, and mindset that different students exhibit
- Outbursts of behavior or mood that appear in classes where children are involved
- Unexpected changes in schedules or routine activities
- Accommodating new students in an already-established group
- Working and interacting with new additions to faculty
- Responding to changing trends and developments in the educational landscape
- Introducing and accepting new technologies, practices, and methods in the curriculum.
These instances reveal how the best teachers stay on their toes not taking anything or any situation for granted. The result is that both the classroom and the institutional environment exhibit a positive, dynamic, and wholesome character.
Creative pursuits represent values that teachers should practice as well as instill in students. This two-fold effort towards nurturing creativity can seem overwhelming and stressful at first. The challenge appears greater if you aren’t naturally inclined towards the arts or other creative elements.
However, creativity is certainly a quality that improves with practice, similar to any other practical skill. With intentional effort, you’ll begin to see patterns, drum up ideas, and imagine new concepts that encourage learning through some form of art and originality.
Take this example from The New York Times, for instance.
It contains up to 150 distinct projects all based on prominent news and developments happening around the world. So, where is the creativity here? For one, it encourages students to stay engaged on their devices for productive means, not merely gaming or binging on Netflix. Secondly, it’s a project that will enlighten their worldview. Finally, it’s still an educational project that they have to work on, which invites performance-based grading.
This character trait really goes without saying in almost any profession. In teaching, it serves a relatively more important role in many aspects.
Students, young and old, often come with different attention spans and personalities. Not everyone will respond immediately to every lesson, encouragement, or input that you offer. But that doesn’t mean you simply walk away from the matter.
Putting an idea across or helping someone learn a new concept can be a laborious process. Teachers often have to hold on to their last shreds of patience as they look for ways to let a particular student catch up even as the others move on.
Teachers also need patience in matters where the management team or faculty isn’t meeting their expectations. Big organizations and institutions are difficult to manage. And when things aren’t looking great, patience stands out as one of the most admirable qualities among the skills of a teacher.
No matter which industry or niche your teaching is in, you can guarantee that it will involve juggling different roles and duties. There was a time when multitasking was generally considered a natural talent rather than a cultivated skill. Today, we know that’s not entirely true. Practice and effort towards distributing your attention whenever necessary can hone your multitasking ability.
Here are common instances where a teacher must play multiple roles.
- Balancing lesson teaching with classroom management
- Acting as a caregiver when young students feel under the weather
- Perform the duties of an interior designer in brightening up the classroom
- Acting medic for small cuts and bruises that children may get while playing
- Catering to the mental and emotional needs of the students
- Acting as a mediator during disputes or arguments in class
On top of all these roles, the teacher still has to perform the expected roles of preparing lesson plans and delivering quality teaching in class.
It may sound overwhelming and impossible when listed out and described like this. But any teacher truly committed to the role will be able to develop these multi-faceted roles.
A good understanding of one’s own emotions as well as of others is a signature trait of world-class teachers and leaders. This too, is a trait that can either be innate or developed. Now, that’s good news for naturally empathetic people as well as someone who may seem oblivious of other people’s feelings and emotions. Absolutely anyone can enhance and develop their emotional quotient.
The primary advantage of commanding an understanding of human emotions is that it influences your students in the right way. Teaching executives who have heightened emotional intelligence can influence students to develop more productive thought processes on their own. This is a stark yet positive contrast with traditional teaching methods of telling students what to think or what to perceive.
The benefits of refining your emotional intelligence go beyond teacher-student relationships. Your interaction with superiors, subordinates, and fellow teachers will also be more fruitful if you’re aware of each other’s emotional inclinations. All in all, it makes for a work and educational environment that’s conducive for maximum learning.
Any mentor or instructor who wishes to reach out effectively to their students will require a deliberate command over their own emotions and a deep understanding of the listener’s emotions too.
Regardless of your teaching experience and certifications, focusing on these qualities and traits will bring out the best results in your students and the utmost fulfillment in your endeavors.
Are you an aspiring teacher? Start developing these attributes before you even begin your first gig as an instructor or teacher. Learn how to project these qualities and more in your application with our handy guide on how to spice up your CV.
What are the five skills of teaching?
There are numerous abilities that teachers must develop over the course of their occupation. It’s difficult to separate a few traits over the others. However, some core basic qualities you should develop are:
- Excellent communication skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Leadership qualities
- Creativity and
- Sustained dedication.
Which among the many skills of teaching is the most important?
No single skill related to teaching can stand alone as a comprehensive quality. The complete teacher requires a balance of different abilities that translate into quality learning for their students.
Which skills of teaching should beginner teachers develop?
For beginner teachers, the most crucial qualities to focus on are communication, leadership, and coordination skills. If you begin with a good base founded on these qualities, you may find that the qualities like being passionate or creative will soon follow suit.
As a new teacher, remember not to entertain the overwhelming stress that the job demands. It’s okay to fail in some tasks or be mediocre in others. So, patience is another golden virtue to practice when starting out.
Why are these skills of teachers important?
Some people assume that landing the teaching job is enough to keep them going for a lifetime. However, there’s no profession or pursuit that remains stagnant forever. New technologies, updated practices, and changing trends demand development in any profession. Teaching is no different.
The teaching skills mentioned here come backed with research and testing that reveal their efficacy in building quality teachers. Any mentor or instructor who wishes to remain relevant and continue contributing in their students’ lives must develop these qualities continuously.
What skills of teaching should I mention in my CV?
While applying for a respectable teaching position, you shouldn’t stick only to your qualifications and licenses. Any or all of the qualities mentioned here can find a place in your CV. That’s because their relevance in the profession is timeless and their efficiency in teaching is undeniable.
Should I master all the skills of teaching mentioned here?
Ideally, your continuing objective should be to excel in all of these traits and skills. However, it’s surely not reasonable to expect immediate expertise in all of the skills here. Even the most accomplished teachers may struggle with at least one area among the top skills of a teacher.
Tweak your goals so that you can work on a few qualities for now while aspiring to develop the others as time goes by. It’s not humanly possible to instantly master all these skills. But it’s certainly within the realms of reasonable possibility to expect improvement in all these traits over time.
How difficult is it to develop these skills of teachers?
Developing exceptional skill in any of these traits will take time, effort, and a lot of self-evaluation. So, the road ahead isn’t an easy or predictable path.
However, it’s the grind and effort that goes into the development that produces the true results. With the right attitude and purpose, you’ll have these traits in your repertoire in no time at all.
What strategies can I use to develop the best skills of a teacher?
The most reliable approach to developing these teaching traits and skills is to expect improvement with time and tackle challenges as they come. Your expertise in these skills get truly tested only in real-world teaching scenarios. So, those are the instances where you have to introspect, improve, and ensure that you takeaway value from the experience. This strategy combined with some patience and unrelenting dedication will ensure that you develop expertise in most of these skills. Then, it’s only a matter of refining these qualities and adapting them based on the situation at hand.