A teacher can make a huge difference in a student’s life, impacting their classroom learning and long-term success. Research from the Economic Policy Institute shows that “the quality of a teacher is the most important factor that contributes to a student’s achievements and prosperity, both in and out of the classroom.” A teacher needs to be good at the subject he or she is teaching, but that isn’t the only skill necessary in order to be an effective and favorable educator. They must have the unique qualities that make a teacher great.
Communication doesn’t stop when a teacher is done talking. Good listening is one of the most important skills needed to be a teacher. As a leader, he or she should be able to listen and understand students and their boundaries, as well as setting their own. The ability to listen and instruct based on a student’s needs is an important part of classroom success. Senior Marina Xenikis says, “Teachers should be calm and understanding. It’s important to have that kind of environment when you’re learning.” Taking the time to talk to a student about what’s best for them shows that a teacher truly cares, and actually wants a student to succeed.
A teacher once told this reporter that she wouldn’t be able to make it through college and continued to list professions/goals that would be unachievable. A good teacher, instead, will encourage his or her students, rather than bring them down. Genuinely caring for students and their education is one of the most admirable traits a teacher can have. Mrs. Anna Badurik is a teacher at Hubbard High School and is a perfect example of an educator who truly wants what is best for her students, and will work hard to get them to where they need to be. The Spanish teacher writes, “Each day I try my best to treat my students as if they were my own children… I want my students to realize that they are capable of working hard and that the process of learning and growing is vital to their success in life.” Mrs. Badurik aspires to make a difference in her student’s lives by helping them learn to believe in themselves.
Teachers also need to adapt and adjust. Flexibility is a key skill that makes a huge difference in the classroom. Every group of students is different, and methods an educator used years ago might not be as effective now. They have to modify and reshape their plans, in order to do what’s best based on their audience. Teachers need to be understanding of what may be going on in students’ lives. It’s important to be observant, empathetic, and always have a positive attitude.
“Teaching is hard work and some teachers never grow to be anything better than mediocre. They do the bare minimum required and very little more. The great teachers, however, work tirelessly to create a challenging, nurturing environment for their students,” says Dr. Maria Orlando. A great teacher is a guide and facilitator who leads by example. They’re understanding, encouraging, and flexible. Hopefully, every student will have the opportunity to experience at least one great teacher in his or her lifetime.