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 the good from the bad and the indifferent. According to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, besides being dependable and personable, outstanding teachers also need to be flexible.

1 Positive

Outstanding teachers must have a positive attitude toward life and toward teaching to inspire students to do their best. Students can sense negative outlooks from teachers and pick the ones who don’t want to be in the classroom. Exceptional teachers with a positive worldview also inspire colleagues to improve their teaching skills by acting as role models and coaching them.

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, 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. 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 students 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. The empathetic quality 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.