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Important Qualities Needed to be a Successful English Teacher

Important Qualities Needed to be a Successful English Teacher | ITTT | TEFL Blog

When I consider the most important aspect of the education system, the very first thing I think of is teachers. I would argue that teachers are the backbone of the education system. Anyone that attended school, regardless of country or region, was once educated by teachers. Even though all of us have that in common, it is impossible to think that everyone had the same experience regarding the teachers that influenced them. The obvious reason is that, just like every person is unique and different, all teachers are unique and distinct. It is sad to admit, but not every certified teacher is a good teacher. There are certain qualities that I believe are necessary to be a successful teacher. I will argue that patience, skill, and relatable personal experiences are three huge qualities to be a successful teacher, specifically an English teacher.

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

The first quality to be a successful English teacher is patience

It seems obvious, but in truth, not all teachers possess this quality. The reason being is quite simple; you do not need to be patient to get a certification in teaching. So, why is this quality so important? It is because, as an English teacher, the objective is to teach a subject that is quite confusing. I am not saying that subjects like art, science, history, and math are less confusing. What I am implying is that if a person is learning English, it most likely means that the person already knows a different language. No matter what language is used; two plus two will always be four. Trying to learn a new language is difficult because in most cases, the language goes against what the student already knows about his or her own language. There are some phrases and words that are just not translatable, and that causes much confusion for anyone trying to learn a new language. Due to this, patience is a necessary quality for an English teacher. The only way to help students with confusion is to have patience. Without patience, many students will feel more suffocated, already being suffocated by the confusion of learning something new. Even if the students are not confused, being patience literally does no harm to the students. I believe teaching English with patience will only provide benefits for English students.

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The second quality that is needed to be a great English teacher is a skill

This falls under the category of qualities for all teachers, not just English teachers. If a teacher does not know the subject that she or he is teaching, then that is the greatest disservice one can commit to his or her students. Since we are all human, all of us make mistakes. There will always be a time when a person forgets something that he or she has learned. As a teacher, the only thing possible is to acknowledge that fact and provide an explanation later if you cannot answer a student’s question right away. Without the necessary skills, it is impossible to be a successful English teacher.

english teacher and student

Finally, a quality that a successful English teacher should possess is relatable experiences that one went through during his or her own time as a student. Now, this quality is not a necessity, unlike skill. However, having experienced something that one can relate to his or her own students can go a long way in understanding and building rapport with the students. For example, when I was a mathematics tutor at a school specifically catering to underprivileged students, there were many instances where I could relate to the students. Coming from a low-income family as well, I can understand their lack of motivation and reluctance to ask for help. Because I was the same in the past, I know that for some students, the best way to help them is to not overtly help them. I would only help when I was specifically asked. If not, I would not even talk about math with them and just have a conversation about something else. This might seem like a bad method to others but doing this allowed the students to feel more comfortable. This comfort eventually leads to them asking more questions about math and trusting that I would not judge them for not knowing something. As someone who learned English as a second language, I believe I can understand my future students’ struggles. I believe having past experiences of something similar can only benefit in knowing and helping the students. This quality of relatable experience goes hand in hand with the quality of patience. With relatable experiences and patience, a teacher can truly help one’s student become successful.

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Many other qualities can help benefit students. However, Patience, skill, and relatable experiences are important qualities needed to be a successful English teacher. Becoming a teacher might depend on a piece of paper, but becoming a great and knowledgeable teacher will depend on the educator’s positive qualities.

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