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How to be Successful at Your Teaching Job

Janelle Cox

What makes a successful teacher?

If you were to ask that question to a high school student you might get the response, "A teacher that knows how to motivate students to do well. Or "A teacher that relates to us."

These days, teaching has become one of the most demanding jobs out there. Teachers are expected to have knowledge of their subject matter, the curriculum, the common core standards, classroom discipline and management. In addition to all of that, they are expected to be enthusiastic about their job, have a love for learning and know how to motivate students. With all of these expectations, and might I add many more, it's no wonder that it's hard for teachers to feel completely successful at their job.

Here are a few characteristics of great teachers, and how they are successful at their teaching job.

Great Teachers Expect All Students to Succeed

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Effective teachers have high expectations for all of their students. They understand that not all students learn in the same way, but all students will achieve success in their classroom. Successful teachers take a page from the soldiers' handbook that they will not leave any man behind, and will not give up on any student.

Successful Teachers are Naturally Organized

Successful teachers are naturally prepared and organized individuals; they have to be. In order to have a successful school year, teachers must have lessons prepared ahead of time, and the classroom in order. Effective teachers create a classroom that is organized and free of any distractions to students. They create a classroom that runs smoothly and would work even if there is a substitute.

Effective Teachers Know How to Engage Students

These teachers use a variety of ways to keep their students actively engaged and know how to motivate students. They use visual aids, change up their routine, and use the latest technology and teaching strategies that are out there. These teachers ask open-ended questions and allow students to dominate the discussions.

Great Teachers Use Consistency

The key to having a successful school year is to be consistent in all that you do. You are either consistent or you are not; there is no in-between. Teachers that are consistent in classroom management, routines, classroom procedures, and homework, find that their students thrive and their classroom runs smoothly. Research shows that when students have these stable boundaries, there are fewer issues in the classroom. For example, Ineffective teachers who overlook student talking will see the issue will keep reoccurring. Effective teachers who are consistent, and intervene when students are talking, will see the issue go away.

Successful Teachers Create a Home-School Connection

All of the great teachers know that by creating a home-school connection, their students will thrive. Getting parents invested in their child's education, and creating opportunities to strengthen the bond between home and school, empowers not only the parents, but the students as well.

Effective Teachers Keep Learning

In order for a teacher to truly feel they are successful at their job, they need to keep learning. With all of the advancements in technology, teachers shouldn't be afraid to learn about them. These tools can be an asset in your classroom. Successful teachers keep in the know with the ever-changing technology, attend education seminars, and meet with their colleagues. These teachers take their job seriously and attend all professional development opportunities.

Great Teachers Take Risks

Have you ever had a teacher that taught the same way every day and never changed their teaching method? Can you imagine how boring this would be for students? Great teachers always mix it up and don’t mind taking risks. If they try something new and it doesn’t work, then they get up and try something else. Great teachers never stop learning, and always like to try new things with their students.

What do you think makes a teacher successful? Please share in the comment section below.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Guide to Elementary Education for About.com, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers across the United States.