5 Important Personal Qualities of a Teacher Which Influence Students’ Learning
Many English language learners have different motivations, interests, and skills in learning a new language. In a classroom with diverse backgrounds and skill levels, it’s very important that a teacher strives to understand each of their students to the best of their abilities and support them along in their journey to learning English.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Tessa S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What Are Personal Qualities?
As we discussed in ITTT 120-Hour Course: Teachers and Learners teachers take on multiple and diverse roles in the classroom, sometimes during a single lesson. These roles include manager or controller, organizer, assessor, prompter, participant, tutor, resource or facilitator, model, and observer or monitor. Often times, the question with these roles is what role is appropriate for the situation that arises in the classroom. Personal qualities of English teachers also play in the roles which they take. Personal qualities are the characteristics of an individual; these attributes and traits are what make up their personality. Personal qualities are what make a person unique, allow them to navigate a new situation, make new friends and connections, or work through conflict or tensions. Important personal qualities for English teachers include listening and being a good listener, thoughtfulness, being personable, timeliness, and adaptability.
1. An Ability to Listen
Listening and being a good listener is an important characteristic in an English teacher because a teacher will only be able to support and encourage their students to advance if they have a strong understanding of who they are and where they are in their academic journey. As an English teacher, it is important to listen for what students are interested in so the teacher can tailor lessons to their interest areas, how they describe any challenges or obstacles so the teacher can be supportive, and how they interact with other students and in the classroom. Listening can also be important to understand cultural differences. Listening is a personal quality that is essential to understand one’s students and thus supporting them along in their academic journey.
2. An Ability to Empathize
Thoughtfulness is also very important. This consists of thinking with foresight and holistically to make sure one’s students feel celebrated, heard, and supported. For example, this could be knowing each student’s birthday and using it as an opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday”. This would encourage the class to practice basic language and learn about an American tradition while making the student who has a birthday feel celebrated. Students that feel supported are more likely to ask questions and contribute to the discussion. Thoughtfulness is especially important when working with students from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. By being a thoughtful teacher, one can begin to know their students better and support, encourage, and push them during their learning experience.
Also Read: How long does it take to get a TEFL job?
3. An Ability to Build Rapport
Being personable consists of having a rapport with one’s students and having the ability to be friendly with them. This is important being knowing one’s students is fundamental to having an effectively functioning classroom and to be supportive.
4. An Ability to Be Patient
Timeliness is a sense of awareness of time and patience. For example, a timely English teacher would know when it is appropriate to encourage a class to work harder or when to push an assignment for completion. This consists of being aware of students’ progress and level as well as the class’s progress relative to the course. Timeliness is key to ensure students are appropriately challenged and that course work is completed. A timely teacher is tactful though and pushes their students without making the students feel rushed—this is a delicate balance and takes skill to develop.
Also Read: Whole-Class Teaching vs. One-on-One
5. An Ability to Adopt
Adaptability is one of the most important personal qualities for English teachers. An adaptable teacher is one who is open to unexpected turns of events, rolls with unplanned opportunities (when appropriate), and is able to answer difficult or uncertain questions. An adaptable teacher is one who is flexible about certain things but unmovable on the fundamentals and underlying goals of the course.
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The personal qualities that make a good teacher depend upon the individual teacher, the classroom, and the learners but in this essay, a few fundamental ones have been detailed. The role of the teacher is sometimes one of a learner; he or she should always be striving to learn more about their students, about how they can be a better instructor, and about the subject matter which they teach. Personal qualities like listening, thoughtfulness, being personable, timeliness, and adaptability are important to be an effective English teacher. Regardless of the importance of personal quality, a very effective and impactful English teacher will have an ability and understanding of when it is appropriate to utilize which personal quality.
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