I’m sure that we all have at least one teacher horror story to share – teachers who didn’t understand us, who didn’t even try to understand us, and so on. The good news is that not every teacher is like that. Not by a long shot.
Whether you’re a student looking to better understand your teacher or a new teacher looking for some pointers, having the right personality type is important. We’ll look at several teacher personality traits that every good teacher does – or should – exhibit. Let’s get started!
1. Leadership trait
A good teacher is, first and foremost, a leader of their students. Leading a classroom is different from maintaining control of a business, though there are a few similarities. Teachers must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each student and then come up with a plan that will help each pupil learn – and work with others. In the classroom, the teacher is often the ultimate authority and a good teacher will develop great leadership skills to be prepared for that responsibility.
2. Flexibility trait
While most students receive good grades if they study hard and listen to their teacher’s instructions, there will always be one or two students in each class who don’t grasp the class material in the usual way. When this situation comes up, a good teacher will rise to the challenge and tailor study guides and reading requirements to fit the needs of their more unique students.
3. Collaborative trait
When you first start out as a teacher, your job can seem overwhelming. Suddenly, there are a couple dozen children looking to you for support, guidance, and wisdom. In those times, leaning on and learning from your fellow teachers is the best thing you can do. Part of training to be a great teacher is recognizing when they need help and whether to collaborate with trusted colleagues.
4. Compassionate trait
If you want to become a teacher who students will remember with fondness, compassion is your number one resource. While the students are primarily at school to learn – and the teachers are at school to teach – it never hurts to get to know each of your students on a personal level. Being invasive of your students’ privacy is never the right thing to do. But by being tuned into your students’ emotional state, you can offer much-needed warmth and encouragement without ever having to pry.
5. Respectful trait
It is imperative that you respect your students – and your fellow teachers. When children know that you respect them and their ideas, they will be much more willing to participate in class and do well in their lessons. They’ll also offer you respect in return. A good way to maintain respect for your students and colleagues is to always imagine yourself in their shoes if you’re tempted to be angry or upset with them. It’s also a good idea to encourage your students to respect each other – and, of course, no bullying should be tolerated!
6. Passionate trait
Passion is one of the essential teacher personality traits. A good teacher should love – or at least enjoy – the subject they teach. Students can tell if you’re bored or disinterested in the topics you teach about…and they’ll become bored as well. We can probably all remember a teacher who made even the driest of subjects come alive before our eyes. How? They were passionately interested in what they taught. Your own enthusiasm for the syllabus can’t help but rub off on many of your students – guaranteed.
7. Organized trait
What’s a great first day of school without a plan of attack? The best teachers are organized, knowing exactly where everything goes, exactly how the day should be scheduled, and all the other tiny details that make for smooth sailing. (Or teaching, in this case.) It’s hard to get work done when you aren’t organized and purposeful in the classroom; a chaotic approach will make your students tense and unproductive. So grab your daily planner or download a calendar app onto your phone and get ready to organize your teaching life!
8. Approachable trait
Your students need to know that you have their back, that you’re not going anywhere, that you’ll always be warm and accepting whenever they need to ask you a question. Going around with a scowl on your face is no way to win the confidence of your students – but you probably already know that. Make sure that you’re available to students for perhaps a half hour after class lets out. That way, if they have any questions for you, they’ll be able to broach them without worrying that they’re disrupting your schedule.
9. Patient trait
Is one of your students struggling with memorizing science facts or remembering how to solve a math problem? Do you feel like tearing your hair out every time they say “I don’t get it”? Well, feel free to tear your hair out…in private. In front of your student, it’s a good policy to always maintain a neutral tone and a kind expression. Patience doesn’t come easily to most of us, but it’s a personality trait that all good teachers work hard to acquire.