7 Traits You Need to be the Best Teacher Ever

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I’ve had some amazing teachers over the years. From my kindergarten teacher who taught us basic French, to my 7th grade social studies teacher who not only taught me about the world, but how to shoot a basketball. And then there was my 12th grade human biology professor who helped me appreciate science more than anyone ever has. Plus, I’ve had countless great college professors — too many to list here.

It takes a lot to be a great teacher. While some teachers skate by until the next mandatory vacation rolls around, others pour their heart and soul into teaching.

It’s challenging to do the later.

For this week’s post, I wanted to think about what it takes to be an amazing teacher. What sets other teacher’s apart? Why were some of my teachers amazing and others not-so-much?

During my research I came across BuzzFeed’s 23 Defining Traits of Your Favorite Teacher – it was a humorous page to start my research with. As I progressed through other blogs, I accumulated a large list. Then, I narrowed it down to what I think are the 7 traits you need to be the best teacher ever.

Here’s what it really takes:

1. Empathy

You have to understand what your students are going through. The pressures of life are amounting to greater than they ever were. And you can’t just brush it off. Teachers are becoming coaches, counselors, and support for students who need that role in their life. Being a teacher is more than imparting knowledge. It’s about making a difference beyond the textbook, too.

2. Listening Skills

Having been in the workforce for a few years now, I appreciate people who listen. People who take the time to internalize what you’re saying and not ready their response only to say something that isn’t beneficial. Listening is more powerful than speaking in my opinion. And the teachers I’ve had were great at this.

3. Creativity

I had a freshman geometry teacher lay on her desk and fall on the floor just to demonstrate the concept of slope. Awesome. And don’t even get me started on what my human biology teacher would do….Anyway, creativity is the crux of keeping students engaged. If you can make any topic interesting, I guarantee it’ll keep your students 1. awake and 2. participating in class.

4. Organization

It drove me nuts when my teachers were not prepared for class. You told me to read a certain chapter and be prepared to discuss it. You should be ready, too. Stay organized. Keep your desk clean.  Make sure you know what you’re going to talk about for that class – and maybe even the next class. An organized lesson plan is your key to success in the classroom.

5. Sense of Humor

I’ve had my good share of funny teachers. And I can remember when I laughed, class flew by. It was interesting. It kept me on my toes, and I was engaged. I wasn’t on Facebook checking out what my friends had for lunch. I was learning – and laughing. Great combination if you ask me.

6. High standards

All of the amazing teachers I’ve had have pushed my limits. They’ve been challenging, demanding (ok, maybe not my kindergarten teacher), and they’ve expected nothing less than perfection. But they also provided the tools and resourced to help their students succeed. High standards is something you learn. Learning is done in school. Therefor, it’s one of your main jobs to instill high standards in your students. Other teachers will thank you.

7. Team Player

You have to work with other teachers. It’s just part of your job description. Whether you’re planning to team-teach, coordinate lesson plans, or even help a young teacher become better, you’re all on the same team. Great teachers are the coach of this team. They motivate, encourage, and support.

Of course, this list is up for debate. I’d like to open it up to your comments. What traits did your favorite teachers have and what do you believe teachers need to be the best teacher ever? Fire away in the comments below.