Personal Qualities an English Teacher Should Possess
Every teacher wants to be good and effective when it comes to teaching, but what exactly are the qualities that make a good teacher? Are there specific characteristics, talents, and skills that a teacher needs to learn and acquire to be called a good and effective teacher?
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Sherry Ann G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Effectiveness in teaching is an elusive idea. How can we tell if a teacher is being successful in his or her field? Some people measure the effectiveness of a teacher by looking at his or her studentsâ achievements. Others measure it by the ratings their supervisors give. Do we need to possess certain characteristics to be labeled as effective and successful? Then, what are the characteristics that we need to possess? Cruickshank and Haefele (2001) stated that good teachers have often been called as ideal, analytical, dutiful, competent, expert, reflective, diversity-responsible, and respected. While Cullingford (1995) stated the main characteristics of an effective teacher as being related to personal characteristics, like a concern for other people, and willingness to work hard, and other characteristics related to the way the classroom is run.
Although every teacher has their own special, unique style, there are still specific qualities that we should possess to be called an effective English teacher. Important personal qualities for English teachers include knowledgeable about the subject matter, accessible, can build caring relationships with students, fair and respectful, and passionate.
The first personal quality that an English teacher should possess is being knowledgeable about the subject matter, or in this case, English. Itâs obvious that, if you are going to teach a subject, you should know a lot about the subject. Especially in an ESL classroom, your students will mostly rely on you because the teacher is their main source of knowledge. They want a competent teacher and a competent teacher possesses a mastery of the subject. Also, there are circumstances of students being motivated and inspired by teachers whose love of the subject they teach is so intense that it inspires students to pursue the subject themselves when they go to university.
Also Read: Do I need a degree to teach English abroad?
The second one is being accessed. Being accessible is also very important. Being accessible means you are approachable and very easy to reach. Since English is not their native language, expect that your students will ask you a lot of questions and you have to make sure that you are very much willing to listen and answer their questions. If the teacher is not friendly and unapproachable, a lot of questions wonât be answered because students will be shy and hesitant to ask. The best teachers are welcoming and easy to approach.
Third, a good English teacher should have the ability to build caring relationships with students. In teaching, knowledge about the subject matter is not enough. Mostly, learning would be impossible if students arenât comfortable inside the classroom. If your students feel that you care for them, they will probably perform better because they can feel the support that you are willing to give them. Great teachers not only care about their job but also the welfare of their students.
Also Read: 7 Useful Tips on Teaching Beginner Students
The next one is being fair and respectful. In some circumstances, you will have multilingual classes wherein students are from different countries. In that case. a good English teacher should be sensitive to cultural differences and traditions of his or her students and should not favor students just because of their race. Students should feel safe and welcomed. Students will most likely do better in the classroom when they know that they can get equal chances from the teacher.
Lastly, a good English teacher is passionate. The most important value an English teacher should have is passion. Especially, you will be facing students every day having different cultures and styles of learning. Anyone who has done it knows that teaching is one of the hardest jobs; the pay is not good, long working hours, and when you reach home, you are still not finished with work. If you are not fully committed to it, you will not probably survive this field. That is the reason why teachers should be passionate about. This happens when you think teaching is not only a job for a living it is also living for the job.
No one is perfect. No teacher is. But if we strive to become better, everything will change. If we feel like we lack one or two characteristics, that is not a problem as long as we are willing and striving hard to become better. We can change and improve ourselves every day just like how we try to improve our students.
Speak with an ITTT advisor today to put together your personal plan for teaching English abroad.
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