Are you thinking of getting into teaching? Teaching can be a wonderfully rewarding career, but it is not without its challenges. Discovering whether you have what it takes to be a teacher can help you decide whether it's the job for you.
Teachers have to work alongside many different types of people and will have lots of demands on their time. Teaching isn't just about delivering great lessons, but also about nurturing relationships, dealing with behavioural problems, taking on extracurricular roles, and engaging in school life. There are many characteristics that are helpful for teachers to possess if they want to succeed in the role. Here are five of the most important.
1. Patience and Compassion
It's fair to say that most teachers will have their patience tested more than once during their careers! Learning how to stay calm even when students aren't listening or are being disruptive is a hugely important part of the role. You may also feel frustrated when students don't get what you are trying to teach and may have to explain it several times or in different ways before it sinks in. Being patient enough to really listen to your students and try to understand what they are going through is crucial. There can be lots of reasons why a student is struggling or acting out, and actively listening can really help you to get to the root cause of any problems.
Having compassion is also crucial. Emotions can run high in the classroom and trying to get to know your students on an individual level and understand what's going on for them, taking an interest in their lives, and so on can help you form better relationships, which will make running your classroom much easier in the long run too.
2. Energy and Enthusiasm
Teaching is a demanding role, and you'll need lots of energy to keep up. Being enthusiastic and positive is also vital. If you are passionate about your job and love what you do this naturally rubs off on your students and they will develop a love of learning because of it. Positivity begets positivity so try to arrive each morning with a smile on your face, ready to tackle the day head-on. Enthusiasm will rub off on your colleagues and parents too.
It's also important to listen to your body and signs of mental or physical burnout. If you feel your energy levels depleting and find yourself feeling more lackluster than usual, make sure you have steps in place to help reinvigorate yourself - a good work-life balance is crucial.
3. Excellent communication skills
Being able to clearly and succinctly articulate your thoughts and ideas is a crucial part of the work. Being an educator means being able to translate what you know and communicate it in a way that others can understand. Communication will help you teach students, liaise with colleagues and talk to parents too. You might find yourself tasked with explaining that a child has fallen behind in class or has some behavioural issues.
Being able to communicate well will help parents better understand the concern and everyone will be able to deal with this effectively and constructively.
4. Excellent subject knowledge and willingness to learn
You need to love your subject if you want to teach it as a career. So knowing your stuff is really a crucial part of the job. You'll also need to be educated to a certain level to get into teaching in the first place. It's also important to want to learn on the job, not just about changes and best practices in your subject, but also learn how to be a better teacher, communicator, organiser, and educator overall.
5. Organisation and discipline
Having great organisational skills will get you far. You'll constantly have to juggle multiple tasks and have to plan lessons, and mark work on top of the time you spend in the classroom. If you don't know how to stay organised and disciplined as well as prioritise your tasks effectively, you'll quickly get behind and feel overwhelmed.
Being disciplined and organised will help you maintain a level of professionalism that is also essential in the role. Being professional will earn you respect amongst students, colleagues, and parents alike and will help you better make decisions and always be aware of where the line is in student-teacher relationships.
Get your new teaching job today with Horizon Teachers
By embracing these qualities, you can make your life as a teaching easier and more rewarding. If you want to get into teaching or are looking for your next new role, Horizon Teachers can help. Browse our jobs or get in touch with our team to see how we can help you today.