Nov 02

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Top 20 qualities of a good teacher

Hey – you’re an expert!  You’ve been to school so you should know what it is that causes students to hope they are in one teacher’s class and not in another.  I’ve had a think on this and come up with the following list.  I’d be interested to know if you agree with my ‘top 20’ qualities that make for a good teacher:

  1. Respects their students.
  2. Knows their students.
  3. Has a sense of humour.
  4. Has the gift of ‘relaxed control’.
  5. Is firm but fair.
  6. Is knowledgeable about their subject.
  7. Is empathetic and kind.
  8. Has high expectations.
  9. Keeps their students busy on meaningful tasks which the students recognise as being of value.
  10. Alters tasks within a lesson to keep the students engaged.
  11. Has a ‘presence’ and an aura of authority.
  12. Maintains a warm, positive and supportive culture.
  13. Gives encouragement.
  14. Sets appropriate rules and reinforces them.
  15. Creates a pleasant classroom environment.
  16. Is able to capture students’ interest and develop in them a desire to learn.
  17. Is able to vary their teaching style to appeal to the preferred learning style of all students.
  18. Is able to customise learning tasks for students of differing ability.
  19. Is able to make good use of contemporary technology to enrich their teaching.
  20. Walks on water.

Ok – so what would you put at number 20?


Permanent link to this article: http://www.timhawkes.com/top-20-qualities-of-a-good-teacher/


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  1. steven middleton

    I really like this list Tim and the blog is great! No.20 is a bit hard for us mere mortals but how about can conduct all of the above regardless of the classroom setting, whether it be on the sporting field, in a House, on the river or in the outdoors. The best teachers I have seen can transfer their skills between settings engaging and educating students in multiple areas within the same day.

  2. Meaghan Walker

    I agree with all those qualities that are about the children you teach. I also think that effective, clear and ongoing communication with parents is an absolute must.

  3. Thanks Steve. Catch you in the blogosphere.

  4. Thanks Meaghan. The issue of being able to communicate well is a great addition to the list.

  5. Peta Gresham

    Number 20?
    A teacher that resigns from having the right answer all the time! A great teacher embraces and fosters students debating different perspectives.
    Ho hum

  6. I like it, Peta, but you still need to walk on water!

  7. Jonathan Coller

    I suspect that adding to your list would risk repeating, in a different guise, what you have already said! However, I would say a good teacher should be a role model for their students. Allied to this, a good teacher should be a ‘student’ themselves and show a passion for lifelong learning and not pretend to be a ‘walking encyclopaedia.’

  8. Totally agree Jonathan. We need to help our students find the answers rather than merely telling them the answers. Cheers!

  9. C.kitchen

    A teacher who is also a learner.

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