There’s no doubt about it: teaching is hard work. What makes a good teacher?

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.

— William Butler Yeats

One of the first characteristics of a good teacher is a keen interest in his / her subject and a passion for continuous learning. When a teacher has a love for his or her subject, it shines through. This helps inspire interest in students, who pick up this enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm alone isn’t enough to make someone a good teacher. Good teachers also have the training necessary to deliver lessons in the most effective manner. They should know the ins and outs of classroom resources, know how to mark student work, be able to write up accurate reports, and know how to deal with disciplinary issues.

A great teacher sets high expectations in the classrooms to help students reach their full potential. Good teachers believe that every student has the ability to learn, and are willing to push them to do their best.

Effective teaching involves a great deal of planning and organisation. Good teachers put in the effort to prepare their lessons thoroughly. Lesson planning helps manage student expectations, so that they know exactly what their obligations are. The grading policy should be clear, as should assignments and objectives.

Desirable qualities of a teacher also include the ability to form strong relationships with their students. Teachers are often warm, caring, and open individuals, who help students feel comfortable in the classroom. Students should feel safe to share their ideas in a supportive learning environment.

What Makes a Good Teacher?

A good teacher

  • is understanding, has superior communication and listening skills
  • is competent, has deep knowledge and passion for his / her subject
  • is cooperative and has the ability to build caring relationships with students
  • is friendly, helpful, kind-hearted and protective
  • is demanding and just and has excellent preparation and organization skills
  • is kind and patient and treats all students in the same way
  • thinks of every pupil in class and has high expectations for all
  • is fun-loving, cheerful and wise, tries to make learning exciting.