Sixteen Qualities Of A Good Teacher

Classroom with math teacher standing by and student working at chalkboardGood teachers are rare, and few people, including school administrators who hire teachers, know what it takes to be one. Although some of the qualities of good teachers are subtle, many of them are identifiable. Here is a list of sixteen traits that excellent teachers have in common:

1. Knowledge of the subject matter

You can’t teach what you don’t know. All teachers need not be experts in their fields, but possessing knowledge is important. Teachers must continue building their understandings of their subjects throughout their careers.

2. Patience

No teacher should be expected to have much patience with individuals whose lack of discipline, immaturity, or indolence interrupts the work of other students. Patience with students who are trying to learn, however, is part and parcel of the teaching profession. Impatience with sincere students is an indication of the teacher’s own shortcomings.

3. Intellectual curiosity

All good teachers are intellectually curious and naturally driven by their interests in keeping abreast of changes in their fields.

4. Confidence

Good teachers are confident in their abilities to sense where students are in the learning process and in their students’ abilities to learn material that is presented in a logical and graduated fashion.

5. Compassion

Talented teachers are able to work with students with varying levels of maturity and knowledge. A college professor I know once made the following statement about his experience as a teacher: “Each year teaching is more challenging for me, because I grow a year older and the students stay the same age. The widening age gap forces me to stretch in order to reach them.”

6. Achievement

Experienced teachers have clear thoughts on what their students should know at the end of the term, and they understand what they must do along the way in order to reach those goals.

7. Planning

Teachers must have plans and stick to them. This goes deeper than rigidly following a course syllabus. Effective teachers sense when students need more time to absorb the material and, within limitations, are willing to give it to them.

8. Awareness

Teachers in elementary and secondary schools must have eyes in the backs of their heads. They need to be aware of everything that happens in their classrooms and in adjacent hallways. Teachers who are awake are able to stop nonsense before it starts and keep students on track.

9. Mentorship

Teachers often serve as mentors to their students. The desire to influence students positively is a core motivation of many teachers when they enter the teaching profession.

10. Maturity

In no profession is maturity more important than in teaching. Students experience emotional ups and downs, and insightful teachers are able to sense the changes and respond to them appropriately. Teachers must be pillars, consistently encouraging students to grow as human beings and to develop academically.

11. Community involvement

Maintaining good community relations is part of being a teacher, and teachers’ contact with parents, administrators, and community leaders enhances their effectiveness in the classroom.

12. Organization

One-on-one tutoring is easy compared to leading a classroom of students in a single direction. Teachers must be able to manage students’ multiple personalities and organize their subject matters so that a maximum number of students benefits from their presentations.

13. Vision

Teaching encompasses far more than passing information from teachers to students. Teachers should be illuminators who provide their students not only with interesting and useful material, but also with visions of where they might end up if they learn well.

14. Context

Every subject has a context, and teachers are responsible for providing it to their students. Since no one learns in a vacuum, teachers must show their students how the information they are learning might be used or might lead to the development of some other useful skill.

15. Mission

Perhaps the most important thing teachers communicate to students and to the community is a sense of satisfaction with their choice of teaching as their life mission. Teaching at its highest level is a calling, and good teachers feel it to their cores.

16. Enthusiasm

Excellent teachers never lose enthusiasm for their profession. They might become temporarily burdened by administrative hassles or isolated problems, but their underlying engagement with their work is unwavering. Students feel this energy, and teachers who project it are much more successful than those who do not.

These are the salient qualities of excellent teachers. If I’ve missed something, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment box below.

Thank you for reading Sixteen Qualities Of A Good Teacher ©, by Douglas R. Eikermann

107 comments… add one

  • Carol Hodson July 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    A sense of humour is also essential. Being able to laugh at your self as well as laugh with the students is an essential part of teaching. Laughter or a joke can break the most reluctant student and bring joy back into the classroom.

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  • duende44 July 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Knowing when and how much to lighten the atmosphere certainly is important. Thanks for your comment, Carol.

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  • Lyssa July 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I agree completely. Sense of humor may be the first and foremost important quality.

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  • duende44 July 5, 2011 at 9:07 am

    The notion of a sense of humor overlaps several of the qualities of a good teacher. The best teachers work to move their students forward in myriad ways, while maintaining light hearts and not taking themselves too seriously. Thanks, Lyssa, for your comment.

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  • Andrew Tarvin July 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I agree completely. Humor is so important to not only managing the stress of educating, but also to helping people learn. As Herbert Gardner once said, “Once you get people laughing, they’re listening and you can tell them almost anything.”

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  • tilda February 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I agree with you as it is said learning without play makes Jack a dull boy

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  • Prof. Rajesh Bhamare September 5, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Teacher Day not only celebrated as a birthday of Dr. Radhakrushan who was president of India but teacher can reach up to the post of president, to salute the nation builder & trustee of our society we celebrate the teacher day.
    My salute to every innovative teacher.

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  • Dennis Richards July 3, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    “No teacher should be expected to have much patience with individuals whose lack of discipline, immaturity, or indolence interrupts the work of other students.”

    I disagree with you. These students need a teacher’s patience because they need to learn discipline and respect so they have the chance to mature. They need the teacher. Do otherwise and you tell them there is no hope for them.

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  • duende44 July 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    If patience includes allowing the unruly student to continue interrupting the work of others, then any gain the student might experience is offset by the other students’ losses. You seem to be saying that the teacher must firmly and patiently intervene and not allow the behavior to continue, and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks, Dennis, for your comment.

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  • Chip Heyboer July 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    In my experience, it is a balance of both. Great teachers allow their students to make mistakes and fail, hold them to high standards of behavior, determination, and excellence, and the patience to constantly guide them to the right choices and success. Great list btw, going up on the motivation wall in my room!

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  • duende44 July 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    As you’ve accurately noted, many of the traits of a good teacher require balance. The best teachers are able to make on-the-spot judgments that benefit both individual students and the group. Thanks, Chip, for your comment!

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  • shermyn November 20, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I don’t agree with you dennis.One of the most important things is having patience.When you think of your childhood perhaps you can understand them better.There are always students in the classrooms like the ones who has got no discipline or maturity.It is really easy to teach in the classes without those.That’s the difference of yours about how to manage a class with those.

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  • tilda February 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    true,a teacher is a role model thus should be able to teach students he/she has to be patient with the indiscipline students.

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  • sandie April 21, 2013 at 5:33 am

    i agree with you Dennis,if a teacher does not give those children attention & patience they will continue with lack of discipline as they lack the time to be guided by a mature someone.

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  • The Smart Llama July 3, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    A teacher should always know what they are talking about. One of my history teachers in highschool did not even know what the bloody hell he was talking about. He said jews did not matter, the industrial revolution was started in America, ect.

    Happy 4th of July to you Americans! 😀

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  • duende44 July 5, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Knowing what you don’t know is an important skill for everyone to develop, and it’s extremely important for teachers, whose knowledge (or lack of it) affects the lives of so many others. Thanks!

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  • Dita March 19, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Teachers are individuals as well as guides at the end of the day. A teacher ought to be knowledgeble but at the same time should be able to help create perspectives, instead of merely heaping on facts.

    I strongly feel that if a teacher gives factual evidence to the contrary, or opinions, that may not go down well with the traditionalsists it just may help students become more accepting.

    It is essential that a teacher brings in conflicting views and helps her students think over them. Being actively involved, not passively recipient, is what makes a class dynamic. Perhaps a teacher who says that colonisation is an Eastern phenomenon may be as right as one who says that it is a Middle Eastern or maybe a European phenomenon.

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  • Venita Peyton July 4, 2011 at 9:59 am

    A patient teacher will be open to the possibility that a disruptive child may be handling a myriad of challenges: maybe s/he can’t read, so can’t follow the class discussion; may be hungry or tired; may be in pain (mentally and or physically).

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  • duende44 July 5, 2011 at 8:55 am

    You’re right. Teachers must be aware of a lot of things at once, including outside influences that may affect their students’ classroom behavior and academic performance. Schools and communities need teachers who do not isolate themselves from the problems their students face. Good teachers engage with their students in ways that signal that the students are not in this world alone. Thanks, Venita.

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  • Anthony Pfeiffer July 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    My number 1 would be the love of learning. My number 2 would be enthusiasm – share the joy!

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  • duende44 July 5, 2011 at 8:59 am

    The love of learning goes a long way toward making a good teacher. Teachers who love to learn naturally love to teach, and their students absorb those emotions like sponges. Thanks, Anthony.

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  • Georg Ulvehøj July 5, 2011 at 1:31 am

    A good teacher always finds the potential in each and every student, and stimulates them to develop their strong sides, making them willing to work and reach heights they never thought was possible.

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  • duende44 July 5, 2011 at 9:03 am

    True. Good teachers are artful at moving their classes forward while constantly identifying and addressing the needs of individual students. Lucky students who have good teachers are all able to reach their potentials. Thanks, Georg.

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  • Kevin Hodges July 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I agree with your 16 points. I’m a history teacher, teaching in Colombia South America at a bilingual school for Colombians. As a teacher you need all of these qualities including a sense of humor. I found myself. laughing at myself plenty of times and the students just absorb it and see that you are not so rigid. Subject matter knowledge is huge. I’m a new teacher so I’m still acquiring knowledge about my subject, but I also think that’s ongoing. You should always be acquiring knowledge and learning more about your subject, even if you’re a veteran teacher. Enthusiasm is also critical. I had so much enthusiasm I was given an award for it by my senior class (very nice). Thank you for sharing this insightful information.

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  • duende44 July 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    The bilingual aspect of your job makes your teaching experience even more challenging. Thanks for your comment, Kevin!

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  • Prasit Khotchakhot July 6, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I enjoy reading this qualities. I hope I can manage to master them. Thanks for sharing this.
    An Old New Teacher in Thailand.

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  • duende44 July 6, 2011 at 9:42 am

    It’s difficult to master them, but the fact that you’ve set them as some of your goals as a teacher is excellent. Good luck with your teaching!

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  • Eric B July 8, 2011 at 6:04 am

    4. Confidence: also includes the confidence to say “I don’t know” if that is the honest answer to a student’s question! Re: Patience with disruptors: that’s EVERYTHING! If you can’t do it or wont’ learn how, don’t teach. Great list and comments!

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  • Michael July 8, 2011 at 8:59 am

    They forgot the ability to navigate school, local, and national politics, the class room doesn’t take place in a bubble.

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  • duende44 July 8, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Michael! Here’s what the article says about it:

    11. Community involvement

    Maintaining good community relations is part of being a teacher, and teachers’ contact with parents, administrators, and community leaders enhances their effectiveness in the classroom.

    Thanks for your comment!

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  • Jinny July 9, 2011 at 12:42 am

    How about playfulness? School could be a whole lot more fun if we encouraged more experimental behaviour, more risk-taking in a playful life-loving, child-like way!

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  • aspiring teacher July 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration. I am taking my certification now.

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  • duende44 July 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    You are welcome! Teaching is one of the highest callings, a marvelous profession. I am confident that you won’t regret your choice. Good luck with your certification!

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  • Jess July 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    “Good teachers are rare, and few people, including school administrators who hire teachers, know what it takes to be one.”

    I’m sorry if that’s been your experience. I do hope good teachers aren’t all THAT rare! I agree with all your points, as most people seem to, particularly the teachers that have commented.

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  • duende44 July 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Unfortunately, I do believe that good teachers are quite rare. I can count on the fingers of one hand the good teachers I had in elementary, secondary, university, and post-graduate studies. When I have the opportunity, I poll my friends and acquaintances with the question, and uniformly, they cite two or three teachers who stood out during their schooling. To me, the interesting question is whether it’s possible to teach someone to be a good teacher or if teaching skills are inborn qualities that some people have and others can’t acquire. At least part of the trick to teaching someone to teach is that the effort is based on the assumption that those who teach aspiring teachers are good teachers. It might be a good subject for another article. Thank you, Jess, for your comment!

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  • carmela July 11, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Interesting point. I personally found my english teachers to be the best teachers but having said that, I feel it was the whole school environment that was the most inspiring to me.

    I would also be interested in exploring the question “It is possible to teach someone to be a good teacher or if teaching skills are inborn qualities that some people have and others can’t acquire?”

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  • duende44 July 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    English teachers do seem to have a subtle advantage with respect to teaching skills, but I don’t have solid reasons to back up that statement. If it’s true (a questionable supposition), perhaps it could be because the language is the basic tool used to communicate the ideas of most areas of study. Even mathematics textbooks contain a good amount of written text to explain the concepts. Your observation about your school environment is fascinating, and I agree that that may be the most important thing. If the atmosphere is inspiring, the students will naturally engage with the materials at hand, and in spite of teachers’ foibles, the education moves forward magically. Thank you for your comment, Carmela!

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  • Donna July 11, 2011 at 5:15 am

    I thoroughly agree with your 16 points. But I would like to add EMPATHY to the list. If we can’t relate to children and see their struggles through their eyes, then we can’t cater for their needs. We need to at least try to walk a mile in their shoes. I believe the heart is the key to good teaching.

    Also when you suggest “mentoring” I believe that should extend to other teachers as well. In order to be considered “Good Teacher” you need to share your expertise, resources and knowledge with others.

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  • duende44 July 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I agree that empathy is incredibly important. It operates on a variety of levels, from discovering the student’s knowledge level to sensing personal problems that come from home, understanding peer pressure, recognizing bullying, etc. Mentoring other teachers is also important. Teaching new teachers how to teach is a learning experience for both the aspiring teacher and the mentor. Thanks, Donna, for your comment!

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  • David Gander July 12, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Here’s something I’ve been reading about and thinking about lately – and I’ll propose that it be added to your list: being able to set out workable routines and fall in with whole school routines; to teach / rehearse them, to follow them, to keep to them or keep getting back to them if you waver and to make time for managing the fall out when pupils don’t keep to them. In summary to make routines, to make them engaging/practical and to share good practice with other colleagues.

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  • Nolligan July 15, 2011 at 8:48 am

    A good teacher knows:
    – What the students know – don’t know.
    – The next steps in their learning.
    – The steps they’ve just taken.
    – The gaps they have in their knowledge and how to fill them.

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  • duende44 July 15, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Absolutely! Thanks for the comment!

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  • Sato3 July 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I think that a good teacher also has to make sense of his importance in nation building. In South Korea and the Philippines, teachers are regarded as nation builders. Students are encouraged to find their own little solutions affecting the community and country. Through an enrichment activity, students find themselves as problem solvers–that their own little voices could make a final difference. In line with this, a good teacher is honest in sharing to his students that skills needed to communicate effectively to the world do not lessen their sense of national pride. Though painful and limiting, acceptance of the lessons of history and realization on how to teach them may start as a burden but in the end a social responsibility.

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  • duende44 July 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Education is unquestionably community building and civilization building, and teachers are a cornerstone of that process. Thanks for your comment!

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  • rosemary akuwarah August 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Good teachers don’t have double standards, and also, good teachers make good students.

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  • Nicholas August 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    A good teacher should also be practical and not theorical.because student/pupils understands practicals better.

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  • Spencer Campbell September 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I think teachers should open their curtains. It is ok to share your life with students. I think students react and learn more when they know they are learning from a real person. A person with talents, interests, problems, opinions and so forth.

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  • sham, September 29, 2011 at 9:25 am

    TEA + CHAIR — do not make a good teacher, teachers are not made they are born, certainly they are rare now a days.

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  • Bevans October 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Wow. Is there any other profession on the face of the earth that is expected to have all of these attributes? How could ANYone, much less many people, be the educator you think all of us should be? Many teachers I know feel criticized, judged, and unappreciated. Perhaps lists like this add to the negative attitude people have towards teachers. I’d love to see you write articles that put teachers in a positive light, but those don’t generate much blog traffic, I guess.

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  • R.RAJALAKSHMI November 20, 2011 at 4:20 am

    “Teaching at its highest level is a calling, and good teachers feel it to their cores.”

    This is absolutely indisputable. When one loves what one does, the spirit certainly is infectious. The teacher’s transparency of the know-how and know-not creates a lot of trust and respect in the student. I have always realised that it is interactive learning between the student and the teacher and if patience prevails, there is praiseworthy progress from the student. Teaching and learning is cyclic in the teaching profession.

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  • Majeda Tahboub November 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I would modify the quote: “Each year teaching is more challenging for me, because I grow a year older and the students stay the same age. The widening age gap forces me to stretch in order to reach them.”

    …to become:“Each year teaching is more challenging for me, because with every year I grow older, my experience and my knowledge of the students puts more pressure on me…no child should be left behind.”

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  • Laurel Nicolosi November 23, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Great article! I am very impressed with the list you have come up with and it is a sobering thought that we as teachers need to reflect and see if we have all these qualities within us, and gain them through time and experience if we don’t. Over my 20+ years of experience with every teaching situation I have been in, I really enjoy working on my own now as a private tutor and love working with students locally and all over the world one-on-one the best. That helps me stay enthusiastic, always learning, always opening my eyes to new challenges, and I also have started small classes for homeschoolers that I really enjoy as well.

    I definitely agree that a sense of humor is essential – maybe it goes with the Enthusiasm trait, and being real with students is important too. I think friendly and professional is the best combination.

    I posted it on the walls of all my teacher friends on Facebook, and used this to teach English to my Russian student today – great lesson! 🙂

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  • duende44 November 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks, Laurel! You’re right about the number of students–the fewer the better, if you want to teach effectively. One on one is ideal, and it seems that more opportunities exist for getting involved with private tutoring than ever before. It sounds as if you’re having fun teaching, and that always makes you a better teacher. Thank you for your comment!

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  • ma. cristina recalde November 25, 2011 at 2:03 am

    a teacher is a very sensitive profession. All eyes on you. A small mistake in life , the world sees you negatively. Would it be unfair on the part of a teacher. Nobody’s perfect. We learned from our mistakes. And that learning really help us in our teachings because experience is the BEST TEACHER . What important for me is how you produce your children/pupils/student to be good academically and a person with good moral values.

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  • ma. cristina recalde November 25, 2011 at 2:09 am

    thanks for being part of this site. It really helps me a lot especially in my profession, how to be a good teacher. through this there will be more good or excellent teachers will come in every part of the world…

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  • Chaya December 5, 2011 at 4:49 am

    I would add – a sense of humor and acting ability! As a former actress, this helps me get across the meaning of a word or phrase!

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  • Doug Eikermann December 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    A good sense of humor certainly helps, and dramatizing your points can make classes more fun and interesting. Thanks for your comment, Chaya!

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  • Dr. Nellie Deutsch December 25, 2011 at 2:17 am

    What makes a good or not a good teacher is a huge question. I’m very interested in continuing an ongoing research on teacher and student disposition to improve my own teaching. If you have a recipe that works for you, please share. I just don’t know if I can come up with a one size fits all list. If you are interested in conducting the research with me, please email me at

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  • Doug Eikermann December 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I agree that what makes a good teacher is difficult to identify with precision. Good teachers have some characteristics in common, but in the end, a more abstract quality seems to enter into the equation. The topic for me includes not only what makes a good teacher, but also whether teaching someone to be a good teacher is possible. I would like to think that we can train teachers to be good, but my experience tells me that truly good teachers are born with a hidden talent for connecting with students that cannot be learned by teachers who lack that underlying ability. So we can teach talented teachers to be better, but teaching mediocre teachers to be good may be beyond our reach. Thanks for reading the article and for making your comment.

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  • Terry Reilly January 3, 2012 at 5:15 am

    The 16 characteristics contained in Doug’s article are ideal. We can add some other features but more likely than not they will already be subsumed within the 16 qualities.

    Having taught intelligent but disruptive socially disadvantaged students in Australia, dealing with discipline in a calm and measured way was crucial. As teachers begin to know themselves as a teacher and begin to know the students they teach, they can place themselves in a position where they can consult with students away from the classroom, where the disruption often begins.

    I used many techniques in dealing with negative behavior. One of the first was not showing emotion. Quietly relating the facts to the student was one method but I found that asking questions such as “Why have I asked you here (in the office)?” and “Do you think your behavior is making you a better person?” were strong starting points. Allowing them to answer without interrupting them was significant. The answers they gave were important springboards to develop a stronger rapport and keep the meeting on a positive track.

    There were times — every student is different — when being negative or unpredictable made the students focus more on my approach. Sometimes a long hard stare without speaking could unnerve them but this also helped them to be more attentive to what was being discussed a little later.

    Questions such as “Would you prefer to move to another school?” were useful. In every instance, each recalcitrant student answered “no”.

    Eventually word got around that speaking with me in the office was something to avoid. This was because I always followed up with teachers and parents when students met with me or with me and another staff member.

    Basically, the hallmarks of a very good teacher have been outlined very well in Doug’s piece. I usually say that good teachers diagnose, prescribe and communicate. Those three elements cover many qualities including discipline, pedagogy and attitude.

    There is a time for humor and the good teacher knows when to use it and knows very quickly when it didn’t work.

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  • Doug Eikermann January 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Terry, thank you for reading the article and for taking the time to make this thoughtful and excellent comment. It’s great to hear from a school administrator about how to keep students on the right track. Your technique of asking questions that shift the burden of responsibility to the student strikes me as creative and sound. Thanks again for your contribution!

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  • Muhammad Zubair Khan January 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

    A very inspiring article indeed ! Doug’s list of a good teacher’s qualities gives no room to insert a new one, yet I would like to add that a good teacher is that who has the ability to adjust his level of understanding with that of his learners. Understanding and realizing the difficulties of learners putting ourselves in learners’ positions is really something valuable. This helps understand learners’ attitude, potentials, and inhibitions which surely enables a teacher to build a useful rapport with his students, and we do know the value of a good rapport with the students which is a key become a successful teacher.

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  • Doug Eikermann January 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I could not agree more! Teachers’ abilities to put themselves in their learners’ positions is paramount. Good teachers understand what their students know (point A), what they need to know (point B), what’s missing (gap between points A and B), and how to get them from point A to point B. With respect to breaking down students’ inhibitions, I’ve found that asking numerous simple questions that students can answer successfully is one effective method of developing self-esteem and self-confidence. Thank you,Muhammad, for an excellent and insightful comment.

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  • Surminga March 15, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Having a sense of humour and the ability to withstand children who are acting wrongly and not working well – calmness.
    Surminga recently posted..Funding Studying at an Overseas UniversityMy Profile

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  • Katie Martin March 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I think another VERY important point which many people look over is just the fact that teachers need to like kids, especially the age that they teach. Also, just remembering that at the end of it all, the students are the most important part of your job, and they need to be put first. Parents, fellow teachers, administrators, and tests are all secondary to simply making sure your students are getting the most out of your lessons.
    I myself was going to school to be a music teacher and realized close to the end of my degree that it really wasn’t what I wanted to do. It seems that a lot of teachers get through their degree and jump straight into the profession without thinking about these qualities and if they are actually able to fill them in a consistent manner. I was glad that I figured out it was not the right path for me before I put any students into a situation where they suffered because of my lack of enthusiasm for what I was doing.

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  • Doug Eikermann April 2, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I agree with you that a lack of enthusiasm would make becoming an effective teacher unlikely, and it’s commendable that you recognized that before entering the profession. I do believe, however, that young teachers can acquire many (or perhaps most) of the sixteen qualities of a good teacher that are cited in the piece, if they are engaged with their work and have good mentors. Thank you, Katie, for taking the time to read and reflect upon the article.

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  • Mark Killingsworth May 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    The effective teacher/trainer is one who encourages and praises the efforts of the students. Even if the student does not “get it”. The good teacher might even ask the student if he/she has any ideas that might help them understand better.

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  • Rachael C May 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I’m 21 years old and currently still in university, but I’ve known for many years that I’ve wanted to be a teacher. I can also count on one hand the number of truly inspiring teachers I’ve been lucky enough to be taught by – it’s those select few people that have given me an intense passion for teaching and for one day instilling in others the confidence and lust for knowledge that they gave to me. I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on the field of teaching and I believe that the way things are currently is not necessarily the best way for children to be learning information in this modern world that we live in. I do, however, very much agree with the points you have made in this really great post. For the most part it was like reading a list of qualities that I’ve found I possess either throughout my academic career or most recently through tutoring a foreign student. Thank you for sharing.
    Rachael C recently posted..Top 5 Tips For Reducing Exam StressMy Profile

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  • Doug Eikermann May 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Identifying the qualities of a good teacher in yourself is an important step in deciding to enter the teaching profession. My experience is similar to yours with respect to the number of good teachers I had in school. Remarkably few of them made lasting impressions on me. I’ve had an opportunity to review your website, and I think you’re going to be an excellent teacher. Thank you for reading the article and for taking the time to comment.

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  • jahangir May 20, 2012 at 6:47 am

    thank you Mr for your struggle it’s very useful for teacher and special for
    students because most of the teacher they didn’t understand which kind of methode we use for students and also in teaching the most important
    thing is atiquates when teacher teach some thing that time he doesn’t understand the students through hard spech but he should use polite manner it’s very easy way to understand the students.

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  • Adamu Mohammed Daizan June 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    A good teacher is that teacher that always: Teaches and not Cheats, Encourages to do good but not discourage to do good, Mould Character and not destroy children’s character, Gives but not collects. Only God bears a witness. The reward of teacher is from the heaven Adamu M. Daizan

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  • Ememobong Nsikak June 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    For one to be a good teacher,he must be organised inorder to be able to organise his student properly.

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  • Ememobong Nsikak June 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    The teacher must be up-to-date in his field. Thank you

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  • bransby molokzah July 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I beg 2 differ with you when you say a teacher should only be patient to student who want to learn only not those who are immature and indisciplined. The major role of a teacher is to make or influence all learners to learn and also to want to learn. A teacher should groom all students in all areas of life, so if we teachers focus only academically how abouy socially, they will definantly becomes animals and pose a seriou threat in the community..

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  • Doug Eikermann July 22, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you for your comment, Bransby. What I say in the article is this:

    No teacher should be expected to have much patience with individuals whose lack of discipline, immaturity, or indolence interrupts the work of other students.

    The important part of the statement is the interruption of other students’ work. Good teachers are patient, but they should not be expected to be so at the expense of other students. When a student’s behavior become overly disruptive, the teacher and school administrators must work with the student and the parents to find a solution that moves the student back into the mainstream without slowing the progress of others. Thanks again for stopping by.

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  • DIRIBA ELIAS HORDOFA August 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I fully agree with all of your best and essential points. BUT shortly, I want add something which is critical for an effective teacher:

      A good teacher should be PUNCTUAL,
      A good teacher should be a MODE (GOOD EXAMPLE FOR HIS STUDENTS) ,
      He should be OPEN -MINDNESS; He should be always HONESTFULL TEACHER!!!!
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  • Ronak Shodhan August 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I applaud you for a wonderful article. I have been teaching for the past 30 years and this is what I would like to contribute to your fine essay.

    An excellent teacher is a master in the basics of Learning process. He knows exactly how mind assimilates new knowledge with the old one. Writing on board, explaining with examples and / or giving students homework and reading assignment is passe in today’s world. This may help students get good marks but will not make them intellectually solid or strong problem-solver.

    A good teacher must have the quality to make his students THINK. This is the most powerful way to push new knowledge in the mind and at the same time challenging the stored knowledge in mind!! I try this method with my students and the results are amazing. Students like teachers who step down from their high chair and sit down with the students on the ground at the same knowledge level.

    Knowledge passes from teachers mind into the child’s mind through a bridge of friendship, trust, respect and true love between the two. Teaching is nothing else but planting the seeds of thinking and nurturing them with motivational and inspirational fertilizer and watering them with the best of human emotions and feelings.

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  • Doug Eikermann August 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Connecting the students’ existing knowledge to the new material you would like them to absorb is indeed basic to good teaching. Thank you for reading the article and for taking the time to comment.

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  • JITHU August 19, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I think loving and caring and even discipline maintaining.

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  • PATRICIA ADIDU JOHN September 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    A person who has the ability to capture and sustain the attention of students regardless of the conditions around is a good teacher

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  • sihah aziz September 10, 2012 at 12:57 am

    thank you for this good essay about good teachers and i am sure i`ll get benefit from it.

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  • rajkishor October 9, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Excellent article, and by reading such one teacher will be enlightened.

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  • Nicholas Lloyd October 17, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Dear Doug.

    Thank you for this list! I am not a born teacher but “fell” into teaching after being made redundant in industry, my main successes having been in 1 to 1 tutoring. I suppose this is mainly to do with “a good teacher is always honest”.

    Having recently done a TEFL course with LTTC, I had to answer the question “What are the qualities of a good teacher?” I put off answering this like the plague, because I know jolly well that I have not been a good one! Here are a few of my confessions:

    – I’ve been a good actor, only pretending to know stuff, then looking it up in the student’s book when they come to me. (It’s not all bad being a good actor though…) This was fine when I was younger and had had less time to swot, but doesn’t look so good now…
    – I have not always been organised, sometimes letting myself drift into whatever the outside world presents to me. This has proved VERY uncomfortable!
    – I have not always been a good communicator of my needs and expectations, either to my pupils or to my school authorities – and when they failed me, I sank!
    – As for patience, I have often had a very short fuse in classes, particularly with students who have the same weaknesses as myself!

    (Note for anyone else who lacks confidence in themselves: I have changed the above tense into the PAST, because starting NOW I am going to be different!)

    I am DEFINITELY not a born teacher! I am still struggling, but then perhaps I can be compassionate with others who are struggling. Since I stopped pretending I have found I relate better to students, even with my weaknesses. I’ve also found I have friends in my colleagues, not competitors. After all, being a teacher is not to set yourself up on a pedestal, or to satisfy a craving to appear great (how ridiculous!), but rather to help students to be themselves in the best sense, to become what they can become, to believe in them and to keep telling them you do.

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  • Kenny October 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks for the article. It has really helped me in my assignment. But I wil add that, a good and an effective teacher should not frown in class, but be jovial because a frowning face cannot teach effectively. He/she must be ready to be a learner i.e ready to learn from his or her student because no one is an island of knowledge.

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  • Muhammad Wasim December 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Totally agree… I would like to add that a good teacher must also be able to convey or deliver the knowledge he has in a way which is understandable. Means presentation skills should not be overlooked.

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  • Doug Eikermann December 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Presentation skills certainly are important. Hopefully, a teacher with talent and dedication will develop such skills while progressing through the career. Thanks for commenting!

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  • SHAMEEM December 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm


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  • Doug Eikermann December 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I think these qualities are constant.

    In the U.S., the loss of good female minds to other professions has hurt the teaching profession profoundly, and we are still trying to find solutions to the problems created by that drain of talent from our pool of teachers. My best guess is that we’ll fully recover only when college students begin to understand that although teaching doesn’t offer the remuneration afforded by other professions, the money is adequate, the retirement plans are excellent, and the personal satisfaction is extraordinarily high. We seem to be a few years from turning that corner.

    Thanks for commenting.

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  • MBAU January 17, 2013 at 2:04 am

    After going through the 16 qualities of a good teacher I have come to realize that teaching should be a call than a profession. If these qualities are applied by all teachers, there services will become much competent and effective.

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  • jordan harrison January 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    i am a prospective teacher (going for interview on tuesday to get into uni) .
    i have read all the qualities that you have listed and they have driven my desire even further to become a teacher .. although realistically I do not yet possess all of these i hope some day i will.

    just like to say that I enjoyed reading it and will read through them every so often to keep me on the right track.

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  • Doug Eikermann January 19, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    It’s good to hear from you, Jordan. Teaching is a fascinating and rewarding profession. You won’t be disappointed with your choice!

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  • Jamil Saleh February 9, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Great! I am much happy although I am willing to be a teacher in the future but I find this write-up interested and the mentioned qualities also were covered everything in the teaching line. A good teacher is always help and makes society better.

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  • Basheer Hussaini February 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Nice page thank you very much for everything

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  • IDOWU ENIOLA OLUTOLA February 21, 2013 at 10:34 am

    A good teacher must also be neat, teachers must create time to take good care of themselves, this has a long way to go in the lives of pupils and students.Teachers with bad odour cannot get the attention of students. They must also be moderate in dressing so as avoid distraction thanks!

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  • Doug Eikermann February 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Absolutely, Idowu! Anything that distracts the students undermines the day’s productivity. Thanks for reading the article and commenting!

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  • trin trin April 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    i like this website teaches me how to be a goos teacher

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  • surya kanta jana May 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    This is a good site to travel through the subject for betterment of teaching ability.

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  • vithya September 3, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    It really helped me. I have a teacher who posses all these qualities. She is a great teacher. According to me she is always a great teacher.

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  • JC arana June 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Great list. But what about taking care of yourself. I think being healthy and taking care of yourself not only sets an example to your students but also clears your mind and allows you to deal with those difficicult moments.

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  • Percy Khauoe August 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    positive mental attidute will do. That is, ablity to think more on the positive and little less on the their level. To keep smile on your face when things get tough

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  • T Swanson May 25, 2015 at 6:46 am

    I couldn’t agree more with Doug’s assessment of the person who is a real teacher.

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  • Doug Eikermann May 26, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Kirk! It’s good to hear from you! 🙂

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  • Daniel July 2, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Very few teachers possess the qualities that are mentioned in the blog. No doubt that private tutor can play an important role in the academic success of kids. But in this commercial world, most teachers are interested in making money and show less concern about the students and their performances.

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  • bptr January 20, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Have you people seen teachers lately? At least 90% are obese morons who can’t even speak simple English (they say things like “LAY down” and “The Pizza was for my husband and I”). They dream about cupcakes all day and walk with a suitcase rolling behind their fat ass. They can’t teach sh… because they don’t know anything and have no brains. This is “normal” in the U.S. now.

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  • George Van Zandt February 15, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Discipline should begin at home. Only then will the teacher be able to assist the student in this effort.

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  • super professor March 14, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Patience is the key role to be good teacher and teacher must encourages students despite a poor grade and shows them they still believe in their success.
    super professor recently posted..Operations Research Consultant: Sabre (Dallas-Fort Worth, TX)My Profile

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  • David June 5, 2016 at 11:16 am

    As a teacher, it is important to get in the minds of the student. By this, I am referring to seeing things from their perspective. For example, does a student possess enough prior knowledge to understand what you are attempting to communicate? You may need to back the truck up and begin with an earlier lesson. Remember, what was taught last year could be forgotten over the summer. Additionally, students may find that they have questions but are unable to communicate them. Are you able to think like those you are trying to teach? Do you have enough patience while they are learning the material?
    David recently posted..Moving from Good to Great: The Characteristics of a LeaderMy Profile

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