What Makes A Good Teacher?

January 10, 2023

Whether you want to become one yourself, or you are just thinking about what kinds of qualities you hope your child’s teachers have, it’s really useful to know about some of the major things that tend to make teachers effective at their job. There are a lot of teachers out there, some of them better than others, and it is not always clear from the start how good a teacher will be until you have looked at their actual performance, along with the results from the class’ grade.

Image Credit - CCO License

In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the main elements that make up a good teacher. As long as a teacher has these, you can probably expect them to be effective for your child. And if you are thinking of being a teacher yourself, or you already are one, knowing this is certainly going to be helpful.


Before you even get into interpersonal skills and so on, there is the simple matter of a teacher needing to have the necessary knowledge base of their subject. Depending on the age group and the kind of teaching it is, that might be quite a wide base or a narrow one. In any case, it’s the kind of thing that a teacher definitely needs to have in place. If you are a teacher and you are not confident in what you are teaching, that is obviously not going to be much good to your students, after all.

The best way to improve knowledge is to learn and train yourself. This is partly what teacher training is for, and it’s also something that will come over time, especially when you are teaching the same subjects year after year. So in one sense, it is just something that will come quite naturally over time.

Image Credit - CCO License

In any case, developing knowledge is vital. You need to have enough of it that you are able to seamlessly explain the concepts to your students. If you don’t, then this needs to be worked on as a matter of priority. You will also find that the process and act of teaching itself helps to learn this stuff.

Room Control

Good teachers have to have a certain ability to control and lead a room. That can be quite tough, and it can take a while to get right, but nonetheless it’s the kind of thing that you can certainly work on as you are teaching. After years in the classroom, it’s one of those skills that will have become second nature to you, at which point you know that it is probably going to only develop and mature all the more.

So what does good room control look like, and how does it actually work? Mostly, it is a matter of knowing what is going on across the whole room at any one time. It’s like that old saying about teachers having eyes in the backs of their heads - in a sense, you have to give the impression that this is true.

That’s about more than just making sure children are not naughty - it’s also having an awareness and control over the energy levels in the room, knowing when you need to change things and move direction, and so on. It’s a subtle skill, but a very important one as well.

Image Credit - CCO License


Discipline is one area that a lot of teachers struggle with. Everyone has their own approach to this, and that is normally something quite natural and organic that you might not even have much control over. It’s a little like being a parent, where some people are naturally stricter than others. In any case, it’s important to make sure that you are approaching the matter appropriately, and that means having a fair but firm resolve in the face of behavior from your students.

In particular, you need to make sure that you discipline appropriately and fairly. That means that it is the same for all students, and that you are taking a decent line of response, something that is actually in line with what has been done. As long as you do that, you should find that your children and students respond much better to you, and this leads to greater respect, which ultimately in turn helps engender a better education for everyone in the room.

You have to let them know early on that you are not going to be pushed over. This is true really for children of all ages, albeit in different ways and to different degrees. But it’s something that you are going to have to think about if you want to be a great teacher, because having good discipline really does help education to be a lot more effective in the long run.

Image Credit - CCO License


Of course, good teachers are also highly motivational, in that they tend to encourage their students to do their best and to be excited about doing so. Being the best teacher you can be is therefore also going to mean you need to have this strong trend of being highly motivational, and often that means being motivated yourself to be great at the job. If you are able to motivate your students, that means that they will push themselves harder, get more out of their education, and also enjoy themselves a lot in the process too, which can’t hurt.

So how can you be a more motivational teacher, if you think this is something you might need to work on? There are actually a few main ways, and part of it requires that you get to know how motivation works in a classroom. Motivation in the classroom can be distilled down to two major kinds: intrinsic and extrinsic. Both have their place, and can be leveraged in order to provide your students with as much motivation as possible.

Essentially, intrinsic motivation is when it is done for internal reasons, such as the pure satisfaction of having done well. It’s a personal and self-willed thing, as opposed to extrinsic motivation, which is when you do something to earn a reward or avoid a punishment, as above. There are benefits and drawbacks to both kinds, so they need to be used appropriately.

As long as you are strongly motivational to your students, you’ll be a much more effective teacher overall.

Image Credit - CCO License

Planning Skills

It’s probably quite easy to see why planning skills might prove useful as a teacher. After all, being able to think ahead and plan properly means that you can plan out lessons to be as effective as possible for the kids, and the same is true of everything from assigning and marking homework to making sure that you have everything you need before a term starts. If you naturally struggle with planning, it’s definitely one of the main things you will need to work on before you are going to be a teacher.

In a way, your students will be able to sense when you are a poor planner, and sometimes they might even take advantage of this in ways that are not beneficial for their education. So it’s important for them and for you that you are not allowing this to become a weakness. As far as you can, work on your planning skills so that you can ensure that you are going to avoid this problem. It’s something you will soon see the importance of, in any case, once you are doing the job of a teacher each day.

Strong Communication

Clearly, being able to communicate well is also going to be important. You have to be able to get ideas across to people both individually and collectively - this is after all pretty much the whole point of being a teacher. So having strong communication skills is the kind of thing that will serve you very well if you are keen to be the best teacher you can be. Of course, working on your communication skills can take some time if you don’t naturally have this as part of your personality. But that's not to say it’s impossible - far from it.

Image Credit - CCO License

In fact, this again is something you can build up both inside and outside the classroom, and that is therefore important that you are paying attention to. You’ll know it’s working when you start to have much more effective lessons and you can really feel a back-and-forth between you and your students. That’s a sign of good communication.

Remember that communication is not only verbal. While your voice is important in teaching lessons, so is your body language, and it’s vital that you are aware of how you are communicating this way at all times, or at least as aware as you can be. This is going to be very important in the long run.

Those are just some of the main qualities that a good teacher will tend to have. As long as you have these yourself, you should find that you are much more effective and your students learn a lot more.

Post a Comment