The following skills are necessary to be a great teacher:
- Verbal and written, friendly body language, and the ability to really listen.
- Ability to solve a variety of problems often under a tight deadline.
- Ability to answer difficult questions on the spot, solve conflicts between students, revise lesson plans, and deal with issues among colleagues.
- Knowing the appropriate resources to use to solve questions and conflicts quickly and effectively.
- Juggling several tasks in a day, from teaching and attending meetings, to lesson planning and grading.
- Keeping it all organized and in writing.
- Being enthusiastic about whatever subject s/he is teaching. Students see that passion and become enthusiastic participants.
- Demonstrating patience when dealing with difficult classroom situations, explaining concepts multiple times, and dealing with parents, colleagues, and administrators.
- Handling situations with a calm, professional demeanor with careful attention to the challenge of the moment.
- Emotional control and maturity can be learned and must be practiced.
- Teachers must understand the material they teach. Even teachers of very young children need significant expertise. It is not enough for a first-grade math teachers to know how to perform basic arithmetic; s/he must have a solid understanding of numbers and numeric relationships in order to be able to explain the material in a thorough and responsive way.
Marilyn Buehrer was a public-school English teacher in Washington, California, and Arizona, a national motivational speaker and educator to home schoolers for nearly a decade, as well as a workshop speaker at home school conventions nationwide and at public middle school consortia in Arizona. She is the developer of Lyric Power Publishing’s comprehensive Workbooks and Activity Sheets.