What qualities should teachers possess?


It is often said that teaching is a vocation not a job. That to be a good teacher takes more than an interest in children or a love for ones subject matter. Some people like to mock teachers for our long holidays and apparent short school days. We of course know that most teachers spend their evenings and weekends preparing lessons, marking work and reading to improve an understanding of teaching today. I too know that not only must a primary teacher be a master of many subjects and have an understanding of curriculum issues and pedagogy. But that my students expect me to be able to wear many different hats. So my question today is just what qualities do our students value in their teachers?

To help answer this at the start of this term we asked our classes the question. ‘What qualities would you like your teacher to possess?’ Here are just some of their replies.

I would like her to have:

  • humour
  • patience
  • kindness
  • understanding
  • subject knowledge

I would like her to be:

  • calm
  • fair
  • hardworking
  • firm
  • optimistic
  • encouraging
  • engaging
  • thoughful
  • respectful
  • fun

Food for thought indeed. As I reflect I wonder can I achieve this every day? I certainly plan to and usually I hope to. Can I meet the needs of every student by being what they need me to be at any one time? A challenge indeed. Once again it reminds me that teaching is all about relationships and love. A love for children and a love for for the job. How about you? Can you be all these things and more?