By Teachers, For Teachers
What makes a successful teacher? If you were to ask any observer you may hear things like, the teacher kept the students engaged via unique teaching strategies, and the classroom basically ran by itself. But, if you were to ask a student, you’d probably hear a different response along the lines of “they make learning fun” or “they never give up on me.”
To be honest, there are countless teaching strategies you can use to achieve success in the classroom, but no matter the teaching style, the most effective teachers have one thing in common—they know how to reach their students in a long-lasting, positive manner.
The most effective teachers expect their students to succeed, they believe in them, and motivate them to keep trying until they reach their goal. As a result, they set the bar high and create an environment where students can push themselves beyond their comfort zone to reach their goals, but also have a safety net to catch them if they fail.
If you ask a student who their favorite teacher is, they are more than likely to tell you about the teacher that makes them laugh. They aren’t afraid to be silly and can laugh at their own mistakes. Humor helps create that lasting impression.
The best teachers are masters in their subject area. They know their craft and never stop learning. They are curious, confident, and do not need a textbook to teach their students. They stay abreast of their subject and transfer their love of knowledge to their students.
Productive teachers think creatively and try and make classroom experiences exciting for students. They identify ways to leap outside of the educational norms and create experiences that are unexpected, unique, and ultimately more memorable.
A popular saying is, “If there is no risk, there is no reward.” Successful teachers know that risk-taking is a part of being successful. Children learn by observing, and when they see you try new things (and watch how you handle success and failure) they too will know how to handle similar situations.
Successful teachers are consistent in ALL that they do. Do what you say you’re going to do and stick with it. This applies to enforcing class rules, a consistent grading system, and the expectations for all your students. Do not play favorites or make special exceptions.
Effective teachers know that communication is the key to student success. They create an open path of communication between parents and students, and recognize that a united front between both groups lowers the chance that children will get left behind.
Great teachers take the time to explore new tools and stay up-to-date with latest technology. They are not afraid of what technology holds for education in the future, and are willing to learn and incorporate the new trends into their classroom.
This goes hand in hand with having a sense of humor, but making learning fun doesn’t mean you have to put on a comedy show. Find ways to mix up your lesson plans based upon your students’ interests. When they see you putting in effort to get to know them and mold your teachings around their lives, the more successful you will become.
The best teachers are patient with students, and understand when they are under stress or have problems with material. They do whatever is necessary to get their students back on track, and are able to recognize that everybody has bad days.
If you’re looking to take the next step in your teaching career, you can learn a lot from what successful teachers do differently. Although it can be quite intimidating to think of all of the things we must do in order to reach our students, it is possible to master these skills one day at a time.
What do you think makes a successful classroom teacher? Feel free to share the qualities and skills that you think are essential to reaching students in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.