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Federico Riva

Teaching Ideas

A Teacher’s Personal Qualities: Do They Really Matter?

A Teacher’s Personal Qualities: Do They Really Matter? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

There are many important personal qualities that an English teacher should have. The first I believe is an English teacher should have is great communication skills. As an English teacher, you are communicating with people who want to learn the language. A teacher may not be able to communicate with them through the language they are learning so a teacher must utilize other communication skills to be an effective teacher. Meer states, “If a teacher's communication skills (verbal, nonverbal, and visual, which involve speaking, writing, imagery, body language, and the organization of ideas into understandable structures) are good, they can convey knowledge with better skill and results” (Meer, 2018). With the use of different communicative skills such as nonverbal, visual, etc, a teacher can remain effective in the classroom.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Dishon M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Courage

I think it takes a lot of courage to get up in front of a class of strangers and to teach a subject and make mistakes. That is why I think being courageous is an important quality for English teachers. Singer states, “Courageous teachers know that even expert teaching involves trial and error, and that imperfection is part of life-long learning. When we don’t know how to reach a student or help a class master a specific ability, we try anyways. We reflect daily on our impact, to understand what is working and identify what we, as professionals, are ready to do differently next time” (Singer, 2013). English teachers will make mistakes. What’s important is to be courageous enough to learn from our mistakes and to keep doing what we love to do.

teacher smiling

Also Read: Can Americans teach English in Europe?

Rapport

Relationship building is another personal skill that I believe an English teacher should have. When we build relationships we can be more confident and effective in the classroom. Meador supports my theory by stating, “ The best teachers are capable of maximizing the learning potential of each student in their class. They understand that the key to unlocking student potential is by developing positive, respectful relationships with their students beginning on the first day of the school year. Building a trusting relationship with your students can be both challenging and time-consuming. Great teachers become masters at it in time. They will tell you that developing solid relationships with your students is paramount in fostering academic success” (Meador, 2019). A simple way of helping the growth of building relationships with students is by learning their names. I remember when I was in school I was always impressed by the teacher who remembers my name as well as pronounced it correctly. This small and simple step can go a long way in relationship building.

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Lastly, I believe the teacher should have strong organizational skills. When you come to class prepared it tells students that you care about teaching them and you take your job seriously. Meer states, “The best teachers have excellent lesson plans, lectures, and assignments that they continually improve. They have studied extensively and read widely about how to teach and methods to facilitate learning. They structure their days, lessons, and units in a way that fosters maximal understanding and interest. They collaborate with other teachers and attend classes to learn more about their subject matter and how to best convey it. They are available outside of class, and they grade papers quickly, writing personal notes to help their students understand” (Meer, 2018). When having strong organization skills I believe students will be more engaged in lessons and have an easier time learning what you teach them.

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