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What Personal Qualities Should an English Teacher Have?

What Personal Qualities Should an English Teacher Have? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Being an English teacher is a very important job and takes a special kind of person. A teacher of any kind needs to have the qualities that ensure student success otherwise they should not be in this role because it would be unfair to the students and inevitably hinder their learning experience. Some of the main qualities a good teacher should possess are creativity, patience, confidence, and supportiveness.

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


An English teacher needs to have a good level of creativity because you cannot predict what the strengths and weaknesses of your group of students will be. It is possible that challenges could arise that you were not prepared for and this could take some research and innovation to come up with activities and lessons that your group of students will respond well to. It may take a lot of trial and error but a teacher needs persistence and to always put the needs of their class before their own. Another reason that innovation and creativity are imperative is to keep the class interesting. If you followed the same structure every day the students would lose interest. Creative aspects in a lesson will help keep the class engaged. Having a fun, enjoyable experience to attach to what they've learned, will also help students to remember the material better.

Also Read: How much can I earn teaching English abroad?


All learners progress at different speeds and in different ways, this is why patience is another key quality an English teacher should be conscience of. Some students may take a week to grasp a new grammar rule and others will maybe have a good comprehension of the lesson after only one class. Those who take more time may require some extra help on the side and those who are faster may need to be broken off from the group and given a new exercise to complete. Anger or frustration will never help someone learn quicker and only ever digress the potential progress. Patience is also needed because there is always a chance of you having misbehaviors in the classroom. These students can be difficult to manage and cause an unproductive atmosphere for the whole class but it is important to use a direct tone and show the class that you are in charge. Try everything in your power to keep the class under control and on task. Using a stern voice will help show that you are serious and it may be appropriate to speak to a student outside of class if their behavior is consistently disruptive.

Also Read: Learning Chinese While Teaching English as a Second Language in China


In continuation from the last point, confidence is necessary when showing a class that you are the one in control of the room. Students can tell when a teacher is uncomfortable, unprepared or even nervous and this makes it harder for them to show respect. It is so much easier to goof off and not pay attention when a teacher is making it evident they don't know what they are doing, that is why no matter how confident you are in the lesson you are about to attempt, you need to show that you are confident delivering it. If you are convincing enough, the students probably won't even notice the minor setbacks you have encountered. It is also so important to be prepared for this same purpose. Students will learn to dislike a teacher if it appears that they don't care about their student's success by not having a planned and fluid lesson plan.

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Last but not least, an English teacher needs to be supportive. If you are supportive and constantly encouraging your students, it will give them so much more will to try their best and push towards success. A supportive teacher defines someone who cares primarily about their class and wants them to be determined and not get discouraged if they fail a couple of times. It is vital to show your students that they can achieve whatever goals they set their minds to.

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Of course, other qualities come in handy in the position of a teacher but with what I learned from this course and my previous experience as a swimming instructor I decided to focus on four of the elements I think to be the most critical. If you can attain these four basic qualities, I believe your success as a teacher and the success of your students has enormous potential.

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