9 Qualities of a Good Teacher (With Tips to Develop Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 10 December 2022

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A good teacher makes a positive and lasting impact on their students. There are some qualities that distinguish good teachers, such as communication skills, patience, and kindness. If you're considering teaching as a profession, you may be wondering about which qualities make a good teacher. In this article, we discuss and define the qualities of a good teacher and offer tips on how you can develop these qualities to become a successful teacher.

Related: What Are the Top 10 Teacher Resume Skills To Include?

What are the qualities of a good teacher?

The qualities of a good teacher include characteristics such as being patient, kind and having empathy. This is on top of skills such as communication, adaptability and organisational skills. Effective teaching isn't simply about passing on knowledge to students. Good teachers inspire a love for learning, instil confidence in their students and act as role models. Here are some traits and skills of good teachers:

1. Effective communication

Successful teachers use good listening, writing and speaking skills on a daily basis to communicate with their students. They break down complex concepts and information so that students can understand them. They also use their communication skills to check on students' understanding at the end of lessons. Good teachers have the following communication skills:

  • Listening: Teachers who listen carefully use feedback from their students to moderate their teaching and meet learning objectives.

  • Speaking: Good teachers speak clearly and confidently when they teach. They speak well to engage students and sustain their attention.

  • Writing: Teachers who write effectively can simplify difficult concepts for students, making them easier to understand.

Read more: 4 Types of Communication

2. Patience

Patience is an important trait for teachers. Teachers who are patient take time to go through difficult concepts with students. Patient teachers understand that students learn at different speeds and they don't leave slower students behind. You can take steps to improve patience by using strategies, such as practising mindfulness to become more patient.

Related: Why Pursue a Career in Teaching? 16 Reasons to Be a Teacher

3. Kindness

Kindness is another important quality for teachers, as they impact many lives and kindness. When teachers are kind, they lead by example and teach their students to be kind too. Teachers play an important role in moulding the characters of the next generation. Kind teachers leave a positive influence on students.

4. Empathy

Teachers who are empathetic understand what their students are going through. Some students may encounter learning struggles, and it's important to have an empathetic teacher to guide them. Empathetic teachers show encouragement and support to their students and acknowledge their feelings. Teachers who display sensitivity and thoughtfulness also help to develop emotional well-being among students.

5. Fairness

A teacher who promotes fairness earns the respect of students and creates a positive classroom environment conducive to learning. Fairness means treating students equally so that they can trust their teachers. Fair teachers don't let biases affect their thoughts and behaviour. They lead by example by not showing favouritism. They also encourage students to play by the rules.

6. Organisational skills

Teachers may manage a classroom of many students on a daily basis. Teachers with good organisational skills plan their lessons in a structured way and keep students focused. They carry out their lessons systematically to achieve learning outcomes. Organised teachers often do the following:

  • Plan: Teaching involves substantial planning. For instance, teachers plan their lessons according to the syllabus and incorporate checkpoints to examine students' progress.

  • Pay attention to detail: Teachers who are detail-oriented ensure that their teaching content is free of errors. Attention to detail also means teachers can actively respond to students' questions.

  • Manage their time well: Teachers who are good at time management prioritise their students' learning needs. They adjust the pace of lessons when necessary.

7. Being a role model

Teachers are influential role models for their students. They can make an impact on their students' personality and behaviour. Students learn from their teachers and the learning goes beyond textbook knowledge. Teachers who display positive traits such as compassion, honesty and respect inspire students to develop such qualities too.

8. Adaptability

Good teachers adapt themselves to changing circumstances. Teachers may often find themselves dealing with changes, such as unexpected situations involving students or the school. When teachers are flexible and adaptable, they respond appropriately to these challenges to minimise learning distractions. Adaptable teachers also tailor their teaching methods to meet the needs of different students.

9. Creativity

A key consideration of teaching is sustaining students' interest. Teachers who are creative in their teaching approaches come up with innovative ideas. They make the classroom lively and engage in students' interests. For instance, they may use different approaches to deliver their lessons, such as engaging in hands-on activities or bringing students outdoors. A creative learning environment also stimulates students' creativity and provides them with opportunities to learn in new ways.

Related: Creative Skills in the Workplace

Tips to develop qualities to become a good teacher

You can develop qualities to become a better teacher. You can take steps to develop the traits and skills of a good teacher such as making a conscious effort to be more patient and empathetic. You can also improve on skills such as communication and classroom management. Here are some tips on how you can acquire the qualities needed for effective teaching:

Focus on your students

Focus on your students first and not just on your teaching. Measure the effectiveness of your teaching in terms of how well students comprehend the lesson and not the amount of teaching done. Successful teachers check on students' understanding and pace their teaching to suit students' needs. When you view your students as your top priority, you also develop empathy and care for their physical and emotional well-being.

Improve your communication skills

Effective communication requires good listening skills. Make a conscious effort to listen to your students. If you're an attentive listener, students are more willing to open up to you. They become more receptive and the learning environment becomes more conducive. Be clear when communicating learning goals and expectations.

Read more: How to Improve Communication Skills (With Definition and Examples)

Be prepared and organised

You can manage your classroom better if you prepare and organise the lessons. Assemble your teaching material and assessment tools in advance. Go into the classroom prepared to teach and answer questions. Successful teachers usually set up classroom rules and routines to minimise distractions. Make sure students know what to expect during lessons so that learning is productive.

Related: How to Teach Writing Skills in 5 Steps (Plus Tips)

Be adaptable and flexible

Teachers work with students of different backgrounds and learning paces. Be adaptable and flexible to the diverse needs of different students. Challenge those who are ready for new opportunities and offer extra help to those who need more guidance. Maintain a flexible mindset and be open to different learning approaches.

Related: Adaptability Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips

Be firm and fair

Teachers know when to be nice and when to be stern. This means that while you display kindness and empathy, it's also important to be consistent, firm and fair. Setting the right boundaries will allow you to command respect from students. Lead by example and be sure that you're a role model for these positive attributes.

Related: How Much Does a Primary School Teacher Earn (With Skills)

Be passionate about learning

If you're passionate about learning, you inspire your students to do the same. Teachers with a love for acquiring knowledge polish their teaching skills and keep up to date with new developments in their subject fields. You can do this by attending training courses or learning from other senior teachers.

Related: FAQ: Useful Things to Know About Teaching in Singapore

Make time for self-reflection

Set aside time to reflect on your behaviour and thoughts. Self-reflection allows you to examine the positive and negative aspects of your teaching. For instance, you may have been impatient and showed your frustration to students without realising it at that moment. Taking the time to self-reflect lets you work on your weaknesses and boost your strengths. This can be useful for developing qualities such as compassion and patience.

Practise self-care and self-management

Knowing when to take a break is important for teachers. Teachers usually handle the needs of many students at once and keeping up with the requirements of the teaching profession may be challenging. If you feel mentally exhausted, it's a sign to rest. Make time for yourself and learn to relax. Once you're recharged, you can then better manage the demands of being a teacher.

Read more: A Guide on How to Become a Teacher (Plus Skills and Salary)

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