The 5 Qualities of a Good Educator
Is student achievement the only factor to consider when determining the qualities of a good educator? Or should we consider characteristics that are harder to measure? For example, the ability to connect emotionally with children.
When it comes to identifying the qualities of a good educator, we can find a number of pertinent articles. However, we may end up with more questions than we had before starting to read them.
So, the best thing you can do is turn to studies on the subject. The latest research makes it easy to discover five of the most important qualities that a good educator should possess.
The qualities of a good educator: Instilling confidence
In the book 50 Ways to Improve Student Behavior, teacher Todd Whitaker talks about the importance of confidence. According to Whitaker, lack of confidence is one of the most persistent obstacles for any teacher’s success.
“Many students do not believe that their teachers actually believe in them.
Many students do not believe that their parents actually believe in them.
Many student do not believe that any adult actually believes in them.
Many students, therefore, do not believe in themselves.
Students who do not believe in themselves tend to have more behavior and academic problems.”
–50 Ways to Improve Student Behavior–
So, if students that don’t believe in themselves have problems in the classroom, then we can make another obvious conclusion. Students that do believe in themselves are better equipped to excel academically.
A good educator should show their students that they believe in them. That way, they’ll come to believe more in themselves and have better chances at success.
Effective classroom management
Being knowledgeable, prepared, and possessing great communication skills isn’t enough to assure success. A good educator must also be able to handle behavior problems within the classroom. This is called classroom management. In other words, the strategies that a teacher can use to organize students, materials, space, and the use of time.
When managing a classroom, teachers must strive toward effective teaching and learning. This helps students enjoy a structured and organized environment that is positive and conducive to learning.
A good educator is prepared
Among the qualities of good teachers, preparation is a must. A good educator must arrive to class with all the preparation he needs in order to teach each day. James Stronge writes the following in his book,
“The organization of time and the preparation of materials prior to instruction have been pointed out among the most important aspects of effective teaching.”
– James Stronge –
“Preparation” may seem like a vague term. Two different teachers may have completely different definitions regarding what it means for a teacher to be truly prepared.
The basis of preparation, being as objective as possible, is knowing your subject matter. Preparing content is fundamental for high-quality teaching. A good educator needs to understand the principle concepts, suppositions, debates, and research processes.
It’s also important to keep in mind that knowledge about a subject isn’t a fixed set of facts. Being knowledgable about something is much more complex and ever-changing. What’s more, teachers must use a variety of representations and explanations of concepts, linking key ideas with students’ prior knowledge.
High expectations, a basic quality of good teachers
Good educators establish high expectations, without limiting or underestimating the abilities of their students. They set high standards and constantly challenge their students to do the best that they can. What’s more, they’re caring professionals that teach their students to believe in themselves.
As educators, it’s important to expect the best of students and encourage them to reach their maximum potential. And yes, it’s important to remember that doing so on a daily basis is a challenge.
A good professor practices self-reflection
In 2010, researchers at the University of Buffalo conducted a study on the role of critical reflection in teacher training. They concluded that teachers should examine and evaluate their attitudes, practices, effectiveness, and achievements on a continuous basis.
The same study observed that critical reflection improves the knowledge and abilities of teachers. Also, it helps educators deeply comprehend the ways in which their teaching styles improve their capacity to challenge traditional practices. And finally, self-reflection defines how they will grow as teachers.
“Without reflection, we run the risk of making poor decisions or believing that students will always understand everything perfectly.”
A good idea would be to use a daily reflection tool, like a journal. Teachers can carry out a recording of meaningful learning experiences and evaluate daily events. The purpose here is to identify the strengths and weaknesses that have appeared in the teaching-learning process.
When it comes to the qualities of a good educator, there’s no one right answer. For those that have never taught, it can be hard to understand the wide range of dynamics and abilities that teachers must possess. But, if you keep in mind the five qualities that we’ve just examined, you’ll be on the right track.