17 Key Traits Schools Want From Teachers

Schools demand plenty of things from their teachers and so do children, parents and ‘society’.

So what do they really want?

1. Grit

Schools want teachers with resilience and grit. They want people with mental maturity who are able to manage and respond effectively to stressful situations.

2. Character, honesty and integrity

Schools want teachers who know what the Nolan Principles look like and act professionally to high standards.

3. Compassion, empathy, and altruism

Effective teachers support their pupils and their colleagues. They focus on the whole-person and seek to understand by stepping into someone else’s shoes. They care.

4. Respectfulness, sensitivity, and understanding of others

They don’t want someone who judges. School communities are looking for staff who treat pupils and colleagues with dignity and respect.

5. Interpersonal skills

Schools want flexible teachers able to converse with people on a number of levels and to have that all important ‘desk side manner’ with everyone.

6. Cultural competence

This is related to No. 5 because teachers need to communicate and work with people from diverse backgrounds. Schools want teachers who are capable of bridging socio-economic, religious and ethic cultural boundaries.

7. Social consciousness

Schools want teachers who are committed to improving their school community and to roll their sleeves up and get involved in the social business of the school.

8. Self-discipline and work ethic

Teaching is an exhausting job and schools want staff with a strong but sensible work ethic. They want teachers with the the self- discipline to work hard but also know when to stop.

9. Commitment to teaching

It’s hard to imagine that people would go into teaching without a commitment to it but many teachers lose this and become jaded. Schools want their teachers to be able to refresh themselves and to understand whether teaching is the right fit for them.

10. Perseverance

Schools and the system they are part of can be incredibly frustrating and difficult. Schools don’t want quitters but people that will keep going when the going gets tough.

11. Reliability and accountability

Pupils rely on their teachers to be there and to provide continuity. Schools want their staff to be reliable and for people to do what they say they will do.

12. Good Judgement

Teachers have to make difficult decisions and they need to exercise good judgement especially when under pressure. .

13. Excellent communication skills

Teachers need to be able to express themselves verbally and in written form to fellow professionals and a range of stakeholders.

14. Excellent listening skills

Teachers talk a lot but they also have to listen and listen well in order to get to the root of problems and issues.

15. Leadership

Every teacher is a leader. Schools want their staff to lead their classes and to inspire them. They must be capable of earning the respect of their peers too and lead each other.

16. Teamwork

You might be the ‘front of house’ in you own classroom but every teacher also plays a range of secondary or supporting roles across the school.  in a team effort.

17. Likeability

Schools want teachers that are liked. They want staff to motivate and care for each other.

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