Is your teacher a cut above the rest?
Teaching is one of the most important professions in our society today, but what qualities do the best teachers have?
What sets them apart, and lets them bring out the best in our students? Here are a few attributes that we believe really excellent educators all share:
They’re great communicators
Teachers who communicate well are able to serve as relatable, approachable mentors for their students. Being able to explain ideas coherently and clearly is an important aspect of communication, but what many people might not realise is that the other component of communication – being a listener – is also a critical teaching skill! The ability to be constantly aware of what students’ needs are is what sets truly excellent teachers apart.
They have the ability to ‘guide’ rather than ‘spoon-feed’
All too often, in the context of high-pressure standardised testing and the demand for better marks, teachers can resort to ‘spoon-feeding’ answers to students. In English, this might look like helping students memorise a good essay, while in the sciences, it might manifest itself as memorising formulas without fully understanding them. The problem is, this kind of approach is a ‘quick-fix’ that doesn’t give students the ability to think critically and flexibly. The best teachers recognise that guiding students to a ‘first-principles’ understanding of topics is the best way to ensure academic success: a ‘first-principles’ approach means learning the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’.
They have syllabus-specific knowledge
Being a good teacher means you can’t just know your subject inside and out; you have to know the specific syllabus you’re teaching inside and out. The best teachers aren’t just subject matter experts, they’re also experts in making sure students are prepared for anything they might be assessed on – and doing this means a very thorough understanding of the syllabus they’re teaching.
They’re empathetic and patient
These two attributes go hand in hand. Teaching is hard. Everybody has tough days, teachers included – what makes a good teacher, however, is being able to keep a cool head and patient demeanour while explaining material to students. Whether going through a topic or question for the first time or the fifth time, teachers have to be able to empathise with a student’s learning process in order to be patient enough to guide them through new material.
They love what they do
This might seem obvious, but the core attribute every great teacher has is that they genuinely find joy in helping others understand new things. Teaching – for the best teachers – is not a job, it’s a privilege.
Looking to join our Mentors at Talent 100? You’ll be teaching Year 7-12 students across Sydney! Click here to find out how you can apply to be a Mentor at Talent 100.