In many instances, teachers spend more time with their students than their parents do. School schedules are demanding, so it is important for teachers to be effective in their methods, instead of simply being the figurehead of the classroom. The following characteristics are ones that accompany effective teachers, and guide them and their students toward a successful educational experience.
Knowledgeable: First and foremost, teachers must be knowledgeable in their area of study. In truth, if a teacher is not enlightened in their subject matter, then any hope of effectiveness goes right out the window. Students will know right away if their teacher is not up to speed on classroom material, and they will likely lose respect for their educator. How can students be expected to follow instruction if the leader of the classroom is trying to muddle through chapter 4 right along with them?
Ability to manage: Effective teachers have appropriate classroom management skills. They must find a balance between being BFF’s (best friends forever) with the students, and running a totalitarian classroom. Appropriate classroom management involves asserting authority, while at the same time being approachable and relatable.
Capacity to connect: In order to be an effective teacher, one must be able to make connections with the students. This is a twofold process. First, teachers must be willing to listen. If students feel that they can’t ask questions of their teacher, or if students feel that they can’t address the teacher regarding a matter in the classroom, or at home, then that teacher is not being effective. Second, teachers must be able to relate to their students. An effective teacher will be able to connect classroom subjects with scenarios relevant to their students’ lives, a.k.a. using real-world examples.
Has high expectations: An effective teacher will believe in his/her students. Setting challenging, yet attainable goals for students is essential to maximizing their potential. When children feel that someone believes they can succeed, they are willing to work that much harder.
Be disciplined: On day one, students should learn about their teacher’s rules, consequences, and regulations. When it comes to discipline, an effective teacher will not waiver from their principles. How else will students be able to take their teacher seriously? Effective teachers will ensure that their students know what to expect of themselves, and from the teacher at all times.
Have contact with parents: Having regular interactions and conversations with parents is another characteristic of an effective teacher. At the beginning of the school year teachers should send a letter to parents detailing their expectations. They should also issue another letter at the end of the year discussing the student performance. It is also important for teachers to make themselves available during parent/teacher conferences, so that parents can get accurate reports of their child’s progress.
Being an effective teacher will leave a lasting impression on the lives of students. Effective teachers can act as both friend and authoritarian, balancing approachability with leadership. They must also be knowledgeable, disciplined, talk with parents, and have high expectations of their students. Being an effective teacher is key to creating a successful educational environment.