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Everyone can think back to their time at school and instantly name a teacher they thought was amazing. A great – and effective teacher  – has a blend of a number of qualities which come together to produce a truly effective teacher who will have a positive and lifelong impact on every student they teach.

Effective teachers love teaching

The most important quality every teacher should have is that they are absolutely passionate about the job they do. Sadly, there are some teachers who don’t love what they do and this destroys any effectiveness the teacher may have.  Teaching isn’t an easy career to enter into and it takes someone with a real love of teaching young people to be completely effective taking into consideration other aspects taking place around them.

It isn’t possible to fake a passion for teaching – it will either shine through or it won’t.

Effective teachers can relate to their pupils

The most effective of all teachers will always find a way to relate to each of their students. Sometimes – particularly with teenagers – it’s hard to find common interests but those who are really excellent will connect somehow. Perhaps you’ll hear it mentioned that they are interested in saving the planet, you could order some literature and brochures from a number of charities and discuss with the student to hear their thoughts and interests. Even if you don’t yourself have great knowledge in the subject, it is about creating a relevant connection.

Effective teachers are proactive, not reactive

Being proactive is a challenge because of the day to day workload already expected of any teacher. However, intensive planning and being very organised will make the job much less difficult. Any teacher who has thought ahead, considered any potential issues and proactively looks for solutions to possible problems will have a much less stressful life than the teacher who waits for a crisis to happen. Even the most proactive teacher though cannot plan for everything so it’s also a case of being very adaptable in some situations but overall, being proactive can reduce unwanted surprises greatly and in turn lead to greater productivity.

Effective teachers strive to be better

Complacency in a teacher produces an ineffective teacher. If they aren’t actively seeking new teaching strategies or ways to make their activities fresh – for instance introducing different kinds of media to the classroom – then they will never grow as a teacher. It doesn’t matter how long someone has been teaching, there is always new technology to embrace, new research into any subject and the introduction of different educational tools to improve the way a teacher works.

The solution to this is to look for opportunities for personal professional development and strive to add new activities to classes each term or year.

Effective teachers understand the content they are teaching and can relate it in a way the students will understand

Some teachers are not knowledgeable enough about their content to be able to be effective in their teaching of it. Some teachers are experts but it’s a struggle to put it in a context a student will understand. The most effective teachers understand their content and know how to explain it. It’s not an easy skill to get right, but those who achieve this will accomplish the best results for the learning objectives of their students.

An effective teacher is all of these things and more; an excellent communicator, someone who challenges their students with new ideas to really get them thinking and they can think outside the box. It’s impossible to be perfect in all these areas but to strive to meet as many as possible means that the students always have the best  teaching experience there is.