There is no denying that the role of an educator is a very important one on society. Without teachers, none of us would be able to advance ourselves, learn more about the world around us and be able to go after our dreams. In fact, so important are teachers that research has shown that the influence of a teacher in the lives of their students is more important than almost anything else in their future success or failure!
The very fact that teachers have such an important role to play in society, and that they really make a difference in countless lives, inspires many people to take up teaching as their career. Sadly, many people make the wrong choice, and they either end up hating their careers, or being pretty ineffective at it, which can have a knock on effect to everyone they teach.
So, if you’re thinking about making teaching your career, you need to be really sure that it’ll be the right move for you. A good place to start is by checking out these qualities that will make you a great teacher:
Obviously, the most important factor that will help to ensure not only that you’re an effective teacher, but also that you can actually teach in the first place, is getting the relevant qualifications. As a minimum, you will need to have earned a bachelor’s degree and obtain a teaching license in the area you plan to teach. However, the more education you have, the better equipped you will be to help your students, so whether you decide you want to go for msn education jobs by getting your Masters of Science Online, or you get a PhD in politics, the more you know, the better you’ll be. Just remember that each state, and certainly other countries, will have different teacher qualification requirements.
Think of all the great teachers you had in high school and college – the ones who made you really want to apply yourself and learn as much as you could about their subject – what did they all have in common? Chances are, they all had the ability to inspire. This isn’t something that you can learn to do easily, but with practice, and by learning how to identify the most exciting aspects of any subject, it can be done. If you already have an infectious personality and a genuine love of the subject you’d like to teach, then you obviously have an advantage and chances are you’ll be one of those teachers who is fondly remembered forever!
As well as being inspiring, great teachers are also engaging. They know how to take the driest subject and make those cold hard facts and figures sparkle. If you can make something that’s pretty boring to most people, like accounting, for example, and through hands-on teaching, fun activities and interesting questions, make it seem as exciting as game of Thrones (well, okay accounting’s probably never going to be that exciting) you’re sure to be a great educator should you decide that teaching is the career for you.
You Challenge the Status Quo
Great teachers are the ones who really make their students think, and in order to do this, they must challenge their preconceptions and let them know that it is okay to question long-held beliefs and do your own research to form your own opinions. If you’re someone who already lives your life outside the box, without flying too far out there, then you should be able to do this pretty easily, and you’ll teach your students the vital critical thinking skills they need to get ahead now and in the future.
You Like to Help People
Teaching isn’t just about standing in the front of a classroom or lecture hall and spouting facts and figures, although that is, of course, an important part of the job; it’s also about helping your students to reach their full potential, and sometimes that might mean going above and beyond to assist your students in following their passions and finding a way to get the work done that works for them. This is something that will come more easily to you if you’re a caring, helpful person by nature.
You Have a Positive Attitude
I’m not going to lie, as well as being wonderfully fulfilling a lot of the time; teaching can also be hard. You will have to work a lot for a reward that most people would agree does not necessarily reflect the huge impact you have on not only individual lives, but the country has a whole. You’ll experience challenging students, too much paperwork, funding shortages and a whole lot of other difficult situations in your career, and if you don’t have the resilience and positive attitude to deal with them in a healthy way, it could drag you under. As well as that, a positive attitude is likely to rub off on your students and make them happier, more focused and eager to learn, too.
You’re an Organizational Whizz
Great teachers are always prepared. They are able to put together lesson plans that are expertly structured to make the subject as easy as possible for students, no matter what their abilities might be. This takes some pretty decent organizational skills to pull off, but it is important if you want to ensure that your students do as well as they possibly can.
As a teacher, you will be dealing with lots of people on a human level as well as a professional one. Many of the students you teach will be going through various troubles, and many will be living in very tough situations. If you want to be a great educator, you need to be able to recognize this and act with compassion and empathy. You also need to know when to step in and help and when you should maintain professional boundaries. It’s a difficult line to walk, but if you’re a compassionate person already, you will at least always do your best to get it right and ensure that you do the very best for everyone you teach.
It should almost go without saying, but if you want to be a great teacher, especially if you’re teaching young kids or teenagers, you need to have endless reserves of patience to draw upon. It can take a long time for some students to learn what you might consider to be pretty basic concepts, and you need to be careful not to push them or take it out on them if you feel like they’re holding things up; that will only discourage them and possibly put them off education altogether. Then there are the students who try to push your buttons and get a reaction – if you let them win, you lose your power and you’ll find it increasingly difficult to keep your classes under control, so patience really is one of the most important qualities you need to succeed, in the education of under-18s especially.
A Great Work Ethic
A lot of people think that working as a teacher is a great gig. You work good hours, you get the summer off – it’s pretty easy right? Wrong. Although it may look that way to outsiders, they are neglecting to think about all of the extra time you put into planning lessons, grading homework and doing non-teaching work. When you’re a teacher, you frequently have to take your work home with you, which means that if you don’t have a great work ethic, you could find it all getting too much for you pretty fast.
The Ability to Get Tough
Although, as a teacher, it should be your aim to nurture your students and do what you can to look after them when they are in your care, there are going to be times when discipline is required and if you are unable to get tough with the kids you teach, then you will not only be seen as an easy mark and attract more trouble than teachers who can get their tough guy or girl act on, but you may also fail your non-disruptive students by not dealing with the troublesome element amongst them, so that they can get the uninterrupted education they deserve.
A Genuine Desire to Teach
Again, this might seem like a no-brainer, but so many people get into teaching because they don’t know what else to do and it seems like a pretty steady career move. These people are almost always mediocre to downright bad at their jobs; they just don’t have the passion and drive to make it work for them, and it is their students who suffer the most as a result. Teaching is really something you should only get into if it is what you genuinely want to do!
As you can see, being a teacher is as challenging as it is rewarding, but if you have most of these qualities and you genuinely want to spend your life teaching, chances are you’ll not only do well in the job, but you’ll be a truly great teacher too!