It can be easy to think of teaching as passing on skills to others. But to be successful as an educator, it’s just as important for teachers to have the right skills to help their students succeed. After all, if you’re the primary person supporting those students through education, you want to give them the best chance possible of doing well.
Teaching skills may vary from teacher-to-teacher, but there are a few skills and traits that should be universal when it comes to those that are cut out to be great teachers.
Do the skills of teachers make all that much of a difference to students? Similarly to how every child is the same, each teacher brings something different to the table. But those fundamental skills that form the foundation of teaching are a must to foster and maintain, to provide the best learning environment for students. Teaching skills offer not only better ways to be effective as a teacher, but also ways to enjoy the experience more, and not get hung up on all the little things.
Do you want to know what teaching skills are a must for successful educators? Read on for just a few, and to find out why they’re not optional when it comes to offering the best education to your students:
1. Patience in all things
Any parent or teacher will tell you that patience is one of the things you have to learn, and quickly when you’re spending time with children or even teenagers daily. Patience is an incredibly vital skill for educators and is highly transferable across a wide variety of situations. Children enjoy testing the patience of the adults around them and pushing their boundaries as far as possible. This is something that even the most likable, efficient, and effective teacher can’t change.
As a quality, patience allows you to wade through distractions and emotions to get to the other side and keep your students going with their education. As a skill, patience can ensure that you’re able to meet your goals and help even the most challenging students to succeed. It’s also a skill that can be learned if you’re not inherently patient – whether through mindfulness techniques or counting backwards from 20, there are plenty of methods out there to help you improve upon your ability to be patient with your class.
2. Creative flair
Creativity is about far more than just paper and paints. For teachers, creativity comes in a wide range of different forms, all of which work together to benefit the classroom and students. Thinking outside the box can truly be a highly valuable addition to your skills toolbox and is well-worth investing time in to add a little more creativity into your daily work life.
Here are just some examples where a little creative skill can go a long way:
- Planning lessons and deciding on new ways to help your class learn
- Creating a new perspective on a subject to help children understand complicated concepts
- Providing interactive and fun lessons your students will love
- Managing discipline more effectively in the classroom
While some people feel that you’re either born with creativity or you’re not, the skill can be developed over time with a little extra effort, insight, and understanding. Not everything has to be a work of art, but by injecting a little creativity into your student’s classroom, it’s possible to offer lessons that stick, and give your students something to look forward to at school.
3. Effective communication – with students and peers
Communication is vital for just about any professional, but as a teacher, it’s even more critical that we’re open and available to both our students and our peers – as well as teacher and administration. Communication with students is vital to understand how well they understand what you’re teaching and to get a feel of how your class is doing overall. Collaborating with other teachers is also vital for teachers who want to succeed, offering a way to collate more information, get a little more insight into problems you may be having and even understand things from a different perspective. Learning to listen is just as important as knowing when to talk; and for educators, communication can mean the difference between success or falling behind.
4. A positive outlook
Being positive can be difficult some days. Especially if everything just doesn’t seem to be going right. Maybe your classroom is particularly loud, or your lesson plan has fallen to pieces throughout the day. Whatever the reason, it can be quite easy for teachers to become negative – something that often reflects upon their students. Instead, working to be personable, likeable, and positive can make all the difference to the state of your classroom.
Being able to engage with your students and speak to them in a positive way not only makes you more approachable to your students, but it also helps you get through each day too. You can even incorporate positivity more into your student’s days too, by encouraging them to be upbeat or engaging with their peers and you.
5. Excellent willpower
Willpower, or self-discipline, is an especially important skill for teachers. All too often, it can feel like we’re seconds from losing our temper or being unable to gain control of a particularly tricky class, or even a particularly challenging student. The ability to take a deep breath, take a step back and be a little more fair with your discipline is an essential talent that provides your students with consistent messaging and understanding that you cannot be swayed by even the worst of behavior. Willpower means not giving in, but also knowing when to step back and take stock of a situation when you’re in it up to your neck.
These skills, plus many more, are vital to being an excellent teacher. But when it comes to providing your students with the best education possible, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Teaching is done best when your whole heart is in it, so if you’re more creative in your personality, incorporate that into your curriculum. Perhaps you love musicals, or you enjoy the opportunity to get outside and work in the sunshine. Using your teaching skills combined with your talents, finding something that works for you and your student is easy.
What teaching skills do you consider must-haves for educators?