A teacher is one of the most important people a child will meet in their life. A teacher has the potential to leave a lasting impact on the child, imparting something that their student will carry on for the rest of their life. However, the truth is these are lofty ideals and often remain as ‘potential’. Reality is far harsher than what most people think, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying our best in whatever we do.
If you’re looking to become a teacher, you must come equipped with the skills necessary not just to impart your knowledge, but also deal with all types of situations and people. Teaching is often not just about teaching an academic topic or a technical skill; it also calls for being a leader. Throughout history, leaders were often teachers, and their qualities often overlap. With that in mind, let’s discuss what makes a good teacher and how you can prepare yourself to be one.
A Teacher is a Good Communicator
Communication is what sets apart a teacher from those who teach because they’re asked to. A teacher has a certain degree of eloquence when communicating, being able to explain complex ideas in such a simple way that even young children can understand. Of course, to hone this skill, you need to know the fundamentals of your field and practice public speaking. It’s best to make a conscious effort to make engaging but straightforward explanations- even in your everyday life. Continuous practice will help you get to the level where you can communicate in class eloquently.
Listen to What You Hear, and Don’t Hear
Communication doesn’t end with the teacher talking. Communication is a give-and-take process, and another skill that a teacher must master is listening to skill. This will allow you to understand your students better and adjust your lessons to match their learning style. Listening opens a whole new world of communication, as you’ll soon pick up cues of anxiety or low confidence levels. As a teacher, knowing when your students are feeling anxious or shy is a great opportunity to build their confidence.
Reassure and Compliment
People normally go through their day with very little compliments. Thus, a simple compliment can make a major difference in a shy student’s day. Don’t be afraid or shy to tell them that you believe in them, or that you understand their struggles, or that you won’t give up on them. We don’t hear words of encouragement often, and when we do, it means a lot. As a teacher, you should encourage your students to do their best, and a simple way to do this is to reassure or compliment them on their performance verbally.
Create Distance Where Distance Should Be
A common folly of teachers who want to connect with their student is behaving like one their self. Staying professional is important, as there is still a gap between a teacher and a student. The distance also helps facilitate an objective look at the students and their performance, allowing you to figure out how to bring out the best in them.
Know About Rights and the Law
As a teacher, you will inevitably meet people whose situation is less than optimum. Someone might be going through a rough patch in their life and look up to you as someone who can provide guidance or advice. While most situations are often manageable, you might find yourself in a position where legal help is necessary. In these extreme cases, it’s best to have contact with a lawyer dealing with family law as you need to tread very carefully. Hopefully, however, you will never have to ask for help in this regard, but it’s best to be prepared.
Keep Up to Date with Teaching Techniques
As science progresses, we learn more and more about the process of learning. Techniques of the past become outdated and newer techniques are developed. Teachers should be an example of a good learner, and the best way to do that is to keep learning. Teaching means you will forever be a student of the art; always learning how to teach what, and how to teach who. Keeping up with the latest teaching techniques or even education technology will help you and your students produce results.
Be Patient and Kind
There is this common stereotype that teachers are strict and uptight people. While this is not often the case, being extra patient and kind to combat this stereotype goes a long way. Each of your students is going through a volatile part of their life, and school normally adds to their stresses and anxieties. Being patient and kind goes a long way in making them feel comfortable, comfortable enough to go to school and learn.