The Qualities Needed to be a Great Teacher
Not every academic can teach, in fact it is a common fact that the higher your IQ, then the less chance that you will make a good teacher. There are of course exceptions to this, but brilliant minds do not necessarily make brilliant teachers. Of course, it is important that you know the subject you are teaching inside out and have the certification to prove that. But whilst other academics pursue careers of higher learning, teachers need to qualify in other areas.
There are many qualities to becoming a good teacher that are quite different than learning, some of them can be taught and some are inbred and need to be nurtured. We look at some of the characteristics that make great teachers and how you can develop them.
You may be one of the most intelligent persons around and know your subject back to front, but if you cannot communicate what you know to your students, then you will never be a good teacher. And it is not just about imparting knowledge you have to make sure that you deliver your knowledge so that the students retain it. Think about different ways of engaging with your students and don’t rely purely on verbal communication. Utilize visual aspects into your lessons and include, imagery, body language, humor, and technology to drive your point home.
An engaged class is a noisy class, not unruly but a group of students that are so interested that they voice an opinion. Most teachers forget to listen and just like the sound of their own voices. It is imperative that you spark debate from your students, constantly ask questions to see if they have taken on board the information you have imparted. Regularly hold group sessions where each and every student has a platform to be heard. You will be surprised at the data coming back, and can adjust your lessons to suit.
A good teacher does not just teach from the head, the heart also plays a big part. A caring student-teacher relationship can be very fulfilling for both parties, learn about the student’s life outside the classroom. What are their interests? Do they have a happy home life? Caring about your students will empower you to be able to reach out so you do not just teach them academically but also about life skills.
Organization and Preparation
Always prepare your lessons well in advance, know the subject matter back to front. Write down goals that you want to achieve from the lesson and strive to meet them. Think about the individual students in the class, how they will best take on board what you are teaching. Have all the course material organized, don’t be flapping through text books trying to find the right pages. You will spend a great deal of time getting your students engaged with what you are saying, a five minute lull could be disastrous.
These qualities are some of the most important to take forward in your teaching career, there are other important skills to that you can master along the way. And as all veteran teachers will tell you, you never stop learning.