Teachers are very important members of any society. And this is especially true for English teachers, who are helping their students to connect and communicate with the wider world. But we have all had teachers that really are a cut above the rest. So, what made them special? What actually are the qualities of a really good teacher? What makes the difference between a person that will positively influence their students and help them to achieve their goals, to the best of their ability, and someone that fails to make the grade?
Don’t worry, we’re here to tell you! That way you’ll be able to make sure you’re the best TEFL teacher you can be, and you’ll benefit from all the rewards this comes with – trust us!
Ready to find out what the qualities of a good teacher are? Then, read on!
1. Great organisational skills
One of the more obvious ones, perhaps, but organisational skills are one of the key qualities of a good teacher. With organisational skills you will be able to create structured and useful lessons, and ensure you come well-prepared for your students.
Don’t forget they have taken time, energy, and money out of their day to be there! And there’s nothing worse than attending a class you’ve paid for, only to find out that the teacher is just ‘making it up as they go along’ and hasn’t organised anything in advance, or thought about the progression of your learning or your learning needs.
An unorganised lesson is never a good lesson. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail, as the saying goes!
Need some help getting organised? Get your free TEFL Starter kit, which contains over 70 teaching resources to help you get organised in the classroom (whether that’s online or in person!)
2. Passion for TEFL
Remember those teachers that had a real passion for their subject when you were at school? And they were so excited about everything that you found yourself getting excited, even if you maybe didn’t think it was the most interesting topic to start off with? Us too! And those were great teachers, weren’t they?!
The ability to get your students interested in what they are learning is fundamental. If you enjoy TEFL and teaching, you’re more likely to transfer that enjoyment to your students. And if they enjoy learning English, they’ll be better able, and more willing, to focus on it. They’ll also be more likely to practice their English outside of class or include the subject in their daily routine (e.g. pointing out the English names of breakfast foods to their parents in the morning). These are all key elements of language learning – focus, practice (or repetition), and integration into daily life.
Being passionate about what you’re doing will also make teaching more fun for you and will mean you’re a lot happier in your daily life! Happy teacher, happy students. So, go spread the joy!
3. Genuine interest in students
Another of the most important qualities of a good teacher is having a genuine interest in your students. Being interested in what makes your students tick means you will understand them, and their needs, better. So, you’ll be able to find out what the best learning environment is for them and be able to tailor your teaching accordingly. You’ll also know when they’re struggling with things (whether this is school or home-related) and be able to provide much-needed support.
Students that feel supported and know that their opinions, feelings, and needs are important to their teacher, are more likely to speak up when they are struggling, so any issues can be addressed more quickly. They are also more likely to feel confident in experimenting with language in the classroom, which will mean they improve more quickly. So, the more you listen to and take an interest in your students, the better their progress will be and the more rewarding lessons will be for both of you!
4. Experience with a range of different students, in a range of different settings
Just starting out? Don’t worry! This one will come with time, and it’s good to know that’s it’s important to get this experience, right from the start of your TEFL career.
Although you might already have a preference for teaching a certain age group or type of TEFL (e.g. young children or Business English), it’s best to gain experience with a range of different students intially, from different countries and with different levels of English, so you can improve your teaching skills and adaptability. This way, once you specialise, you’ll be better able to adapt to the individual needs of each student, rather than using one style of lesson/way of teaching and applying it to everyone. Teaching in this way means your students will get more out of their lessons with you and make more progress. Being able to get the most out of your students and help them get the most out of their learning? Definitely one of the top qualities of a good teacher!
As far as getting experience in different teaching settings goes, this just means it’s best to try teaching both in a classroom (if you can) and online. Again, this will improve your adaptability and increase your teaching resources, as you will use different resources, games and approaches for classroom lessons vs online lessons. Can’t get to a classroom? No worries! Maybe just try mixing it up with your online classes. Try to teach groups of students as well as one-on-one interactions, to keep you on your toes!
5. Continued personal development (CPD)
Another to add to the qualities of a good teacher is commitment to continuous learning, personal development, and improvement of your teaching skills. Doing these things means that you are going to just get better and better over the years, so your students can continue to benefit more and more from your continuously improving skillset.
So, what does CPD look like? And how do you make sure you’re doing it when you’re teaching? Well it just means carrying on learning as much as you can about TEFL teaching, even once you’ve started teaching. At i-to-i we have a range of specialist courses that are designed as add-ons to your original qualification and will help you to continue developing your skills. These short courses include topics like Coaching IELTS Exam Prep and Business English. Get your free guide to find out more!
Not already TEFL qualified? Check out our Level 5 Advanced Diplomas, which have these specialist courses and additional learning already included!
We’ve left the most important one for last! One of the essential qualities of a good teacher is patience. It’s something that doesn’t come easily to all of us, especially in the fast-moving world of today, but it’s a quality that will serve you well with your students.
Just remember, trying to do anything in a language that isn’t your own is usually pretty tough! Think back to when you’ve been on holiday somewhere, you’ve not spoken a word of the language (beyond thank you perhaps!), and it’s been difficult to get your point across to a local. Would you have preferred it if that local was patient, gave you the time to try and express yourself, and helped you along? Or if they got frustrated with you and walked away, or changed the subject? An easy choice!
So, patience is the key to unlocking your students potential and making sure that they trust you and feel comfortable expressing themselves and trying things out in your lessons. Bill Gates said “patience is a key element of success” – and he’s someone who ought to know!
Ready to get started with your own TEFL journey but need to get qualified first? No worries! Arrange for a free call back with one of our TEFL experts, and they will be able to help you select the right course for you. Alternatively you can take our quick course matching quiz to find your perfect fit!
Already qualified and ready to look for online jobs? Check out the amazing range available on the LoveTEFL jobs board. And our brilliant jobs support team, headed by Jordan, are always on hand if you need any help with your application!