What a Good Teacher Looks Like

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A solid education begins with quality teaching
Defining what is a quality teacher. Pixabay photo (CC0).

Think of your favorite teacher. Teachers exist outside of the typical classroom – whether a role model, family member or your fifth grade elementary school teacher. While the definition of “good” is determined on an individual basis, teachers with this attribute in general are memorable people who share several positive qualities.

A solid education begins with quality teaching
Defining what is a quality teacher. Pixabay photo (CC0).

Patience

A good teacher does not respond to your questions with outbursts or angry tones. An easy-going nature is key. This key opens the door to learning.

Listening

The door to learning opens a little wider when you listen to your student. A good teacher does not interrupt the student mid-sentence or talk over them. The student is able to speak their entire idea without interjection. Be active in the listening process. Show the student you are listening to him or her.

Active listening involves fully concentrating on the person speaking to you. Do not perform other tasks with your hands while you are listening. Doing so sends an unspoken signal to the student that he or she does not deserve your undivided attention. Give the student time to speak and be patient during the speech.

Empathy

Perhaps you have not been through the difficult situation your student is explaining to you. Learn about his or her background and current circumstances. Identify with the student’s feelings. If you cannot easily do so, ask others for help. Perhaps one of your friends or colleagues has encountered a similar situation with a student and can advise you how to best communicate further.

Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Clarification is needed. By asking others for help, you will learn how to be a good teacher.

Planning

A good teacher arrives prepared. Just as a football team arrives on game day with a set of plays, a teacher should have the lesson plans thought out in advance. Determine the tasks to be completed within the set duration, if there is one. Sort the tasks and place them in order if certain ones need to be finished before others.

Trust and Rapport

A good teacher is a person whom the student deems trustworthy and supportive. With trust comes the student’s ability to be open and listen to what the teacher says. A good rapport between teacher and student will also encourage the student to pay attention and follow the advice of the teacher. While teacher and student need not be best friends, a mutual respect should exist between the two people.

A good teacher influences the mood of a student and creates a positive learning environment. A good teacher provides a memorable relationship that a student remembers long after they say their goodbyes.

27 COMMENTS

  1. I was an elementary school teacher for 6 years. My mom has been teaching elementary school for about 20 years. I also have many family members and friends who are teachers. Teaching is an amazing career. It is also exhausting and teachers are very under-appreciated.

  2. Yes, I am lucky to have had some very good teachers that I am most grateful for some of whom were outside of the classroom in many different areas of life.

  3. I left a permanent job 10 years ago to follow my dream and work with adults who return to learning to improve their literacy skills…I love my job but it’s hard to remain motivated. It would be nice not to be let go from my job, unemployed every June to September and every holiday! I’m still living in hope of being valued by our Department of Education!

  4. Great list, Christy. I’d add that everything a good teacher says in class has a purpose. They don’t talk just to talk, share irrelevant opinions or boast about themselves. It’s all about the students. Cheers!

  5. Wonderful post , the qualities that a teacher should possess are so rightly summarized and they are truly hard workers and have such a big influence on the students !

  6. Teachers touch lives. My favorite teacher was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Ewing, followed by my senior year English teacher in high school. When I began teaching, I reached out to both to tell them how greatly they’d influenced my decision to become a teacher myself. I was never able to find my third grade teacher, but was able to find my high school teacher, Mrs. Duffy. XOX I’m still happily in contact with many of my former students who are now grown with children of their own.

    • I totally get what you’re saying, Mickie! I found an elementary teacher last year on Facebook who influenced my life greatly as an adult and told her so – it was quite the moment! ♥

  7. How lovely to find your posts about good teachers here, Christy. I agree with every one of your points. I also think good teachers find the value and the positive in every child and help to make them feel special.

  8. Good teachers are worth their weight in gold. Not like my grade 3 teacher who in front of the class said I was not listening when I told her I did not understand the math lesson.

  9. This was a great post! As a teacher, every day I aspire to achieve each of these and I beat myself up when I fall short but thank you for your support and positivity!

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