Characteristics of a Top Teacher

There are many characteristics, techniques, etc. that make for a successful teacher. These may be as varied as the teachers themselves. However, there are certain time-tested attributes, characteristics, and practices which contribute immensely to teacher success.

The following list contains items that students have used to describe their best teachers.

1. Enthusiasm

  • Students can feel the excitement
  • Students easily detect the teacher’s love for job and subject

2. Preparation

  • Teacher knows the subject
  • Teacher plans and prepares lessons daily

3. Punctuality

  • Always arrives on time
  • Begins and ends class on time
  • Expects and encourages students to arrive on time

4. Support and concern for others

  • Lets students know that he/she cares about their success
  • Takes time with students
  • Allows for creativity
  • Is friendly and courteous
  • Is supportive and encouraging
  • Is smiling, caring, and loving

5. Consistency

  • Does not miss class
  • Is consistent in attitude and dealings with students
  • Is always well prepared to teach class

6. Politeness

  • Treats students with respect
  • Does not condescend
  • Avoids embarrassing students in class

7. Firmness and control

  • Is firm in a kind manner
  • Avoids tangents in teaching

8. Does not play favorites

9. Provides personal help

  • Takes time to explain concepts
  • Gives individual attention

10. Accepts individual differences

11. Employs an effective delivery

  • Clarifies for understanding
  • Creates a sense of fun with the learning task
  • Eliminates bad, irritating, and/or distracting habits

12. Does not make students lose face

  • Avoids criticizing students

13. Sets high expectations of students

14. Is humble

15. Is fair

16. Uses variety

  • Uses a variety of learning activities
  • Experiments
  • Allows for spontaneity

17. Has a sense of humor; is relaxed

18. Makes use of engaged time

  • Sets a good pace and provides for a change of pace
  • Avoids engaging students in “busy work”

19. Use of text

  • Is not a slave to the text
  • Uses text as a road map

20. Keeps within 1-2 days of the scheduled course outline

21. Provides field trips and other activities

  • Applies student experiences to classwork

22. Does not always teach from a sitting or leaning position

23. Maintains appropriate interpersonal relationships with students

  • Does not allow students to call him/her by first name
  • Does not try to win a popularity contest
  • Maintains a healthy teacher-student relationship
  • Respects students (remember that sometimes what you think is healthy, fun joking with students may be interpreted by them as disapproval and dislike.)

24. Does not allow just a few students to monopolize or dominate the class

25: Keeps accurate records of:

  • Work completed
  • Attendance
  • Test results
  • Grades

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