Written by Russ Gadzhiev, PhD
“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” – Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
“A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.” – Ever Garrison
Have you ever wondered what skills would help you achieve greater success in your career? In this article, we are going to talk about the 15 most important skills that every teacher should have.
A good teacher possesses excellent leadership skills. When it comes to the classroom environment, leadership skills mean being able to manage students with different personalities, including those who misbehave. Teachers’ leadership skills are also crucial for managing teacher-parent relationships.
Being a teacher is not just about being in class and dealing with students. Being a teacher also means that you must manage many other tasks. You need to plan, you need to mark, you need to communicate with your school management, and so on. To manage these tasks successfully a teacher must have excellent organizational skills.
Communication skills are important for any teacher. Teachers must communicate with various people coming from different backgrounds and different walks of life. They need to understand their backgrounds and their concerns. Teachers also need to be able to explain and justify their pedagogical approaches to students’ parents. Teachers should have a good level of both oral and written communication skills. As far as writing skills, people communicate via email so to get their message across and not upset anyone teachers’ writing skills should be up to standard.
Another important communication skill is listening. Teachers should be able to listen to their students carefully. Not only do they learn about their students’ problems and educational needs, but they also establish a good connection with the students. A good connection, or “rapport” is vital for successful classroom management.
This is probably the most underrated and underestimated professional characteristic a teacher should have. Emotional intelligence is important for teachers especially. First, teachers should be able to control their emotions. Secondly, they need to understand and deal with the emotions of their students. They also must be aware of such things as positive body language in order to create a favourable educational environment in the classroom.
It goes without saying that the growing accessibility of education these days is closely related to the continually growing influence of the Internet. Not only does it impact the accessibility of education, but it also makes it much easier. Teachers rely on online games, and lectures to make their lessons entertaining and make use of online platforms that detect plagiarism and other academically dishonest behaviours. That is why it is absolutely essential that teachers have good knowledge of how to use computers and the Internet. If you feel that you lack computer skills, you need to fix this problem as soon as possible.
Time Management Skills
When we say time management, we are not only talking about the fact that a teacher should be always punctual. As far as teachers are concerned, time management boils down to many other essential things. Contrary to the widespread belief that teachers only teach, there is more to the teaching profession than just teaching. Teachers must handle a vast amount of admin work as well as work that is done outside the classroom. Meetings, teacher-parent interactions, marking, attending professional development meetings – teachers need to juggle all these things every week if not on a daily basis.
Solid Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
The world we are living in is becoming increasingly interconnected. The likelihood that you will have students in your classroom, who come from different cultural backgrounds is very high. Teachers should remember that the cultural background of their students shapes their approach to education and their interactions with other students at school. Students with different cultural backgrounds will have different struggles and problems that can be addressed and effectively resolved only with solid knowledge about their cultural background. If you are wondering how you can expand your cultural awareness, read our Shiminly blog for more information.
Classroom Management Skills
Although it may seem that any adult will be able to manage a class of kids, this is not the case. It takes more than just being an adult to manage a class of young learners. That is why any teacher requires classroom management skills – knowledge of how to establish rapport with students, and how to communicate with them in a way that is beneficial for their education.
Ability to Teach Online
The covid pandemic has changed the world in many unexpected ways. It has also changed the world of education. If three or four years ago, the ability to teach online was used to be imagined as some extra desirable skill, today the ability to teach online is essential. Who knows, what if a new pandemic strikes and we all must go back to teaching from home? And if there is no pandemic in the future, consider this fact: the number of online educational platforms is increasing every day and it is easier to find an online teaching job than a job in a school.
Resourcefulness & Ingenuity
Why does being resourceful matter? Being resourceful means finding interesting materials if the studied chapter in the textbook is boring. Resourceful teachers are also ready to help their students understand the material using other ways. Being resourceful also means being able to think outside the box if the situation you are dealing with is a new and unexpected one.
Change is an essential part of everything in life. The same goes for the realm of education. If you can adapt to changes and thrive on them, then you are likely to achieve success and be happy in life. When it comes to teaching, the importance of being adaptable is even more evident if we consider the events that happened over the last three years. Because of Covid, many teachers who had been unfamiliar with the idea of working online had to learn how to deliver online lessons.
Indeed, there are many situations in which teachers need patience. Teachers require patience when dealing with problematic students. Patience is especially important if we are talking about the fact that the progress of our students may take some time to come. Teachers also require patience when they deal with difficult parents. Finally, patience is overall a great trait of character in a high-intensity communication job like teaching.
Curiosity & Desire to Learn
Curious teachers understand that learning is an ongoing process, which lasts for the entirety of our lives. When it comes to the field of education, learning on an ongoing basis, is even more important to stay up to date with the recent developments in teaching and life. In fact, there is a whole concept called life-long learning, which has many important benefits. If you are eager to know more about this concept, check out our Shiminly blog.
Although this quality comes last on our list, this quality is of course as important as all other characteristics listed. Only enthusiastic teachers can inspire students and make them develop a thirst for knowledge. Students who see that their teachers are not passionate about what they teach are more likely to have low motivation and be absent from class. So before starting your teaching career, think about it: are you really passionate about teaching or there are other reasons compelling you to do this job?
Although it may seem that good teachers are born this way, this is not the case of course. It all comes with experience and hard work. So, if you feel that you lack some of the aforementioned essential characteristics for any teacher, check out our Shiminly blog and learn more about the craft of teaching.
Russ Gadzhiev obtained his PhD in history and politics from University of Melbourne. He also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Moscow State University of International Relations, a top-ranking diplomatic school. Russ is a strong education professional with a history of working in the higher education sector of Australia and effectively communicates with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. He is enthusiastic about teaching and mentoring, writing, curriculum development, research, information management and public speaking. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.