Five Attributes of a Good Teacher

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Since the formation of public schools during the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece, teachers have played a key role in shaping the next generation of citizens. The profession is both immensely rewarding and vitally important – it’s no exaggeration to say that without good teachers society will crumble.

According to a study by the University of Auckland, there are six factors that influence the ability of a student to learn.The researchers found that the teacher’s ability accounted for 30% of the variance in a student’s achievement, making it far more important than the student’s home life, peer group, or school. So what exactly constitutes ‘ability’ in a teacher?

1. Knowledge

Teaching is all about imparting knowledge. Someone who knows their subject inside out is able to explain the same concept in a variety of different ways depending on their audience.

For example, those who teach English abroad might draw on examples from English literature from different ages to show how a particular word is used. Knowledgeable teachers are also able to delve into other areas of the subject and provide students with a richer overall view of a topic.


2. Empathy

The ability to empathise with students is vitally important. The quicker a teacher picks up on the motivations for individual students’ behaviours, then the more successful they will be.

For example, some simply write off consistently disruptive students instead of considering that they might be feeling frustrated with how they are being taught, rather than simply that they don’t want to be taught.


3. Consistency

Students are confused by inconsistent teaching. Someone who is strict and unapproachable one lesson and then overlyfriendly the next does not make an effective teacher.

For most teachers the ability to reliably deliver the same standard and method of teaching comes with experience. Those seeking to enter the profession can gain experience by teaching abroad with organisations such as Projects Abroad. Look at their website for more information.

4. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is infectious. Teachers who care about their subject and appear excited about it are more easily able to inspire interest in their students. Teachers don’t necessarily have to be enthusiastic about their subjects (though it helps) – what’s important is an overall enthusiasm about life in general.

Active encouragement, praise and innovative teaching methods are typical assets of enthusiastic teachers.


5. Professionalism

Teaching can be tough, so it’s important to retain a sense of professionalism at all times. The role has a great deal of responsibility attached to it and is only really suited to those willing to shoulder this weight.

The best teachers are those who view themselves as students, and subscribe to a lifelong commitment to their own learning and professional development.


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