Qualities of an Outstanding Teacher

Outstanding teachers consider teaching their vocation.

Everyone can think of the best and the worst teachers they ever had in school. There are distinct qualities that separate an effective teacher and the best teachers from the bad and the indifferent. According to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the most important qualities of a good teacher besides being dependable and personable, great teachers also need to be flexible to student learning, learning needs, learning process, and learning styles.

1 Positive

An outstanding educator must have a positive attitude toward life and toward teaching to inspire students to do their best. Students can sense negative outlooks from past learning experiences and pick the ones who don’t want to be in the classroom. High-quality teachers with a positive worldview also inspire colleagues to improve their teaching skills by acting as role models and coaching them, as well as create a positive learning environment.

2 Experience

While teachers may be enthusiastic when they graduate from college, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire points out that experience is required to make a teacher outstanding in the educational field. The longer teachers who are above average work to increase their knowledge base and to hone their instructional skills, the closer they move toward being exceptional. Along with experience comes the ability to set realistic goals while having high expectations, and this helps teachers maintain a positive and realistic attitude.

3 Creativity

Creativity in teachers fosters excitement and keeps teaching fresh. Teachers who have a flair for creativity take an ordinary concept and make it exciting. Like enthusiasm, creativity can be contagious, so the students benefit from having teachers with this quality. While creativity can’t be taught, it can be fostered and nurtured. Outstanding teachers draw on their strengths and add a twist to make their lessons more interesting.

4 Listening Skills

An outstanding teacher has to listen as well as speak. To really understand exactly what students are saying – or what they aren’t saying, as the case may be – requires active listening, coupled with good questioning techniques and strong communication skills. Outstanding teachers develop relationships with students and, in turn, they become their confidants as the students know that they can trust them.

5 Empathy

Exceptional teachers are empathetic. They can see when learners are struggling and instinctively know when a quiet word of encouragement is what they need. Some outstanding teachers didn’t graduate with the best marks in the class; rather, they have the personal touch that makes such a difference. Students will want to become lifelong learners when teachers adjust lesson plans for their personal life. Empathetic teaching strategies is a way of outstanding teachers letting students know that they understand.

Jody Hanson began writing professionally in 1992 to help finance her second around-the-world trip. In addition to her academic books, she has written for "International Living," the "Sydney Courier" and the "Australian Woman's Forum." Hanson holds a Ph.D. in adult education from Greenwich University.