As a teacher, there are certain personal qualities you need to possess to succeed in your career. These attributes enable you to be the best educator you possibly can be, and help you to inspire, uplift, and develop the minds of your students.
Often, it’s not enough to just complete the requisite formal teaching qualifications. While doing this will teach you the foundations of how to be a competent educator, it is also essential for aspiring teachers to actively hone the personal characteristics that make the best teachers great. Stay with us as we uncover exactly what these qualities are, and how you can cultivate them as a budding teaching professional.
You Have Patience, Resilience and Dedication
When choosing to become a teacher, you need to face the fact that not all of your students will always want to be in attendance in your classroom. This is especially true for school teachers, where it can be common for deviant pupils to ‘wag’ classes. Also known as truancy, wagging classes is a term that refers to when students fail to turn up for lessons without permission from their parents. As a disciplinarian figure, it will be your responsibility to take action against truancy and encourage students to adhere to class attendance rules.
In this way, there is a fine line between earning the respect of your pupils and being their friend. At times, you will need to take stringent measures to bring truant students back in line. For this reason, you require good leadership and communication skills, as well as patience. You will also need to be strong enough to cope with unruly students potentially acting out, being disobedient, and rudely talking back to you. Being a teacher can be extremely stressful, so having resilience and dedication will help you get through these challenges. As will of course, actively developing self-care and stress reduction strategies in your downtime.
You Embody Creativity and Have A Genuine Passion for Your Work
If you want to be a teacher, you need to be both passionate and creative. You need to be able to captivate the minds of your students and inspire them to remain engaged and interested in your lessons. Making your lessons interactive, uplifting and inspirational takes a great deal of creativity. This is especially true if you are teaching one of the drier subjects – such as mathematics, for instance. How do you make algebra interesting? The key is creativity, and cultivating a classroom environment that is fun, exciting and engaging for your students.
To be able to do this, it helps to be genuinely passionate about the work you are doing. You are helping to grow the minds of upcoming generations. In the end, what could be more important? Try to remind yourself of the importance of your work if you ever start to lose your passion. Remembering why you started will help you stay the course of your career, even when it feels challenging, arduous, and thankless.
You Are Flexible and Adaptable to Change
In our digital era, technology is constantly changing. As is the way we do things, including how we deliver education! If you want to be a teacher in the age of Instagram, then, you need to stay up to date. Being adaptable is key to this. You can’t be too narrow-minded or fixed in your ways. If you are, you’ll just get left behind, and even worse, you won’t be able to relate to your students. Adaptability to change, and embracing new trends, means you’ll never go out of style. Your students will admire your ability to keep up with them and that you are flexible enough to relate to them on their terms.
With up-and-coming generations ever-evolving in terms of their interests – and even, how they think – it’s important to stay abreast of what’s trending in the world of your students. It may be a new social media platform, a new genre of music or entertainment, or even, digital technologies we may not have even heard of yet. You never know – you may even learn just as much from your students as they do from you!
You Display Empathy and Understanding For Your Students
Finally, to succeed as a teacher, you need to be able to display genuine empathy and have an understanding of what your students may be going through outside of the classroom. Teaching can also require you to provide emotional support to your students and to empathise with their problems. As you will be a figure of authority in the lives of your pupils, they will often look up to you for guidance. In this way, you will be taking somewhat of a counselling role, and you need to develop the skills that go with this. These attributes include not only empathy and understanding but also, being nurturing and supportive.
Accepting that your students will come from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds is also very important. Some of your pupils may be having a tough time at home and may have no one else to turn to. Worse still, they may be being bullied by their classmates. Being the supportive figure your students can turn to in times of distress is something that differentiates great teachers from mediocre ones. Rather than going through the motions, you are genuinely invested and truly care about the well-being of the students in your charge. This will show in your work, and the trust and respect you gain from your pupils.
Whether you choose to become an early childhood educator, a school teacher, or a university professor, the qualities you need to succeed in any of these teaching roles are the same.
First and foremost, you need to be patient, flexible and resilient. Next, you must be adaptable to change. As well as this, you should have empathy and understanding for the students in your charge. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to have creativity and passion for your work. If you possess these essential teacher attributes, you will succeed.