As with many other vocations in life, being a good teacher starts with a good sense of humor. You have to be able to laugh at life and laugh at yourself because being a teacher can be a very intense experience regardless of the age of your students. Having a sense of humor goes a long way towards student interaction and approachability. Granted, your job isn’t to be a stand-up comedian, but well-timed humor in the classroom can help bridge the gap between delivered material and student application. Also, one has to be careful that humor not be forced, but rather it should flow naturally.
YOU HAVE TO WANT TO BE THERE
It may seem like an obvious characteristic, but a good teacher is someone who wants to be there. Some people study a particular subject in college and then find upon graduating that they aren’t sure of how to apply their degree so they “settle” on teaching. They may still find that they enjoy teaching, but others figure out quickly that they don’t particularly like students or the classroom. However, they stick with it because they don’t know what else to do. This creates a semi-motivated teacher who never really invests his or herself into the privilege of teaching. A teacher needs to have a love for the classroom, or at least a strong positive feeling.
HAVE SOME PASSION!
Another trait of a good teacher is passion for their subject area. If a teacher doesn’t care about the material, why should the students? Passion can be contagious, even for students who are not particularly interested in the subject. Therefore, it is up to the teacher to teach in such a way that they exude energy in the classroom. This increases the potential of engaging the students, who may find intrigue in a person who gets this excited about their subject. If you are not particularly passionate about the subject material, you have to at least prepare yourself mentally to present it with some enthusiasm.
GET THEM INVOLVED
A good teacher is also someone who can engage their students. This means getting them involved in dialogue, debate, and discussion. There is nothing wrong with lecture, because information must be conveyed. When students do not know much about a subject, they need to start somewhere. Still, a good teacher works to make the students part of the conversation whether it is through Socratic method, small group work, or research projects. The goal is to get the students invested in their work rather than simply being passive recipients. Good teaching can be developed but in some ways it comes from innate ability. Teaching methods and philosophies can be taught, but oftentimes the best teachers are simply gifted in their craft. That said,a good teacher is someone who always looks to improve regardless of their education or experience.(14)