Think back to the very beginning of your teaching career. You were full of excitement (and energy) as the new school year approached. Instead of learning behind a desk, you finally would have the opportunity to teach in front of the classroom. The days to follow were filled with anticipation, smiles, and laughter. Then eventually, once the newness began to wear off; the hard times inevitably came along too. What kept you going was that one teacher that showed you what you were capable of. Whether it be through a helping hand or a quiet example, you knew that if she could do it then you could do it too.
In a recent survey, we asked our network of teachers to think about a teacher they admire and list the qualities they believed made those teachers effective. The following qualities were shared again and again:
1. Love Their Students
These teachers feel privileged and honored to be a part in their students’ lives. They relate to their students by finding out what they’re interested in and then learning more about those interests. This way they can be more involved with their class and design lesson plans that are both relevant and exciting to their students.
2. Listen to Students
Listening to students goes a long way in building relationships based off of trust and mutual respect. The teachers that do listen receive valuable insight into the lives of their students. Students are more likely to ask for additional support if they are in an environment where they know they will be taken seriously.
3. Make Time for Each Student
Teachers that make time for each student individually can see which students need to be challenged and which ones could use some additional support. These teachers aren’t necessarily better at time management; however, they do know when to ask for help so they can make time for this important best practice.
4. Learn Something New Every Day
Those that “practice what they preach” and are passionate about learning are the best examples to their students. Teachers that strive to learn something new every day, whether it be through reading good books, staying on top of local issues, or simply listening to a friend, will inspire their students to be life-long learners as well.
5. Fill the Classroom with Positivity
It’s amazing how far a smile and a kind word can go toward lifting the mood of the entire classroom. Teachers that are consistently upbeat enable their students to feel secure in their learning environment. As educators, we know that there are students that will inevitably push our buttons from time to time, and we admire teachers that choose to use humor instead of allowing situations like that to sour their mood.
6. Patiently Handle Challenging Situations
There is no substitute for kindness. Teachers are under a lot of stress and have parents, districts, and policies to answer to. With so many different opinions going into the education system it’s easy to get flustered when faced with harsh criticisms. Teachers that empathize with concerns can then use the criticisms as an opportunity to become an even more effective educator.
7. Constantly Look for Ways to Become Better
The most effective teachers didn’t become that way overnight. They constantly look for ways to improve their craft and aren’t afraid to try new things (even if they don’t seem to work the first time around). These teachers are determined to succeed and work hard for the results that they ultimately achieve.
8. Collaborate with Other Teachers
Being a team player allows teachers to be even more productive. Looking out for one another and brainstorming together is not only a great way to create meaningful friendships, it also helps uncover creative solutions for teachers. In addition, exchanging ideas with other educators can provide valuable insight that can then be implemented in the classroom.
9. Develop Relationships with Parents
Getting everyone onboard in a child’s education is an important factor that determines how motivated the child will be throughout his or her entire scholastic career. Teachers that develop open communication with parents will achieve the results that are in the best interests of their students.
10. Maintain Classroom Organization
Teachers love organization in the classroom and in lesson plans. They admire each other for coming up with new ways to be even more efficient as educators. Teachers that appear to “have it together” often have created an environment of respect for classroom organization as well as a respect for staying on task.
Do you know a teacher that exemplifies these qualities? We, here at Reading Horizons, are challenging teachers to write an anonymous letter to a colleague they admire. Who knows, you just might make someone’s day!
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To make our teachers even more effective, Reading Horizons has put together an online reading workshop where teachers can earn 3 hours of free professional development credit. Enjoy!