15 Things Effective Teachers Do
What are your strengths as a teacher?
Teachers need lots of assets to do the job. Some of these can be trained and some are just down to individual differences.
So what are the key teacher strengths effective teachers display in their toolkits?
1. Show patience and understanding
If you are impatient then teaching isn’t for you. Teachers know that little steps and big steps take time and learning is a not linear. Instant results aren’t common and Eureka moments can’t be fast-tracked. Learning doesn’t run to a schedule, lesson plans and bullet points and patient teachers know that learning involves a lot of waiting and that requires flexibility and compassion. Patient teachers are respected because they don’t lose their cool.
Effective teachers are dogged. They are tenacious, resolute and determined. They never take the easy way out, avoid a situation or give up. They know that sweeping things under the carept doesn’t make a challenge go away. They model grit and resilience to their pupils and teach them that struggle is necessary. They encourage positive self-talk and mindfulness and put failures and mistakes into a growth perspective.
3. Leave footprints
They make a real visible difference. They ‘know thy impact’ by focusing on learning and their learners. They know their research and focus on the things that have the greatest impact and stop getting distracted by the things that don’t matter. Great teachers leave distinctive footprints for others to follow.
4. They learn
Teachers are always learning and live by the maxim ‘every day is a school day’. They are strivers who work hard to upgrade their knowledge and understanding so they can pass this on to others. They make time for reflection and consider how to build their skills and are committed to the systematic maintenance and improvement of their teacher competence. They know the difference between hot cognition and cold cognition and can tap into emotional and logical thought processes.
5. They laugh
Teachers with a sense of humour are able to cope with the challenges and stresses of teaching. They get their laughs where they can and they smile a lot. They make learning enjoyable and can make their learners laugh without getting off the subject.
6. They are organised
Organised teachers get things done and know how to manage their time. They prioritise and make sure they ‘eat the frog’. They structure their day efficiently and manage any new demands placed on them by being rational and realistic. They guard against burning out by organising time for themselves and know when to stop. They ‘give, give, give’ but ‘take, take, take’ by sharing workloads with their colleagues.
7. They have energy
Teachers energise. They feed and fuel their learners with the passion to be excited, enthusiastic and motivated. They are energetic but they know how to keep things in balance and not give everything all of the time. They stop themselves being drained of energy by not trying to cram too much into one day. They know when to talk and when not to and they focus on doing fewer things better. They know when to unplug in order to save energy and rest.
8. They are personable
Teaching is a people business and so being a people person is a must. They know how to get along with different people and know how to deal with difficult situations. Teachers who don’t enjoy being around people have a tough time getting through the week. ‘People person’ teachers don’t have to be outgoing with plenty of friends, contacts and a massive network but they are friendly, accommodating, listen and make time for others.
9. They are audacious
Effective teachers don’t nest and snuggle up in comfort zones, they go out of their way to try new things, take risks and do things differently. They are brave and advance rather than stay still or retreat. They enjoy deviating from traditional pedagogical paths and try different routes.
10. They have stage presence
When effective teachers talk, everyone listens and they have an exceptional ability to rivet attention. Their natural charisma holds people’s attention and the electric quality that pervades their classrooms makes a deep impression. Their character charisma and knowledge charisma combine to spark interest and induce learning and who they are significantly influences performance, motivation, and happiness.
11. They have confidence
A teacher’s level of confidence in their abilities or efficacy is crucial to their classroom success. Those with a strong sense of self-efficacy enjoy their teaching, are more resilient and can inspire others to better things. Confident teachers make for confident learners. It is vital for children to be taught by teachers with high efficacy and who feel confident about their teaching capability.
12. They are plate-spinners and jugglers
Effective teachers can do a lot of things and the real masters of multi-tasking. They sometimes have to be in four places at once and have to respond second by second to challenging situations. They think on their feet and make decision-making look easy.
13. They do the right thing
They are professionals who act with integrity by doing the right things for the right reasons. They take responsibility for what they do as individuals and team members. They are truthful and trustworthy and do what they say they will do.
14. They stay calm
They have the ability to stay steady and think clearly when under stress. They manage people and the situations they find themselves in with calm composure and don’t jump into making quick decisions.
15. They are ambitious
They want the best for their school, their class and themselves. They fight children’s corner, work hard to remove obstacles and attack the day with a positive attitude and a passion for teacher. They aren’t TGIF teachers but Thank God Its Today (TGIT) teachers who milk each day for what it is – an opportunity to go that little bit further.