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Attributes of Great Teachers

Updated on July 25, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I'm interested in social issues, good relationships, problems of daily living, jobs, exercise and advances for safer living conditions.

School Teacher


Great Teachers

There are many aspects to being a good teacher, such as loving the age group that you teach. It takes patience and a willingness to put the time in because the work does not end when the classroom empties.

Great teachers tend to work tirelessly, and they will create an environment in the classroom that is challenging for their students. They understand the impact they have on each child.

Obviously, some teachers are mediocre, but if a teacher is very satisfied they tend to be great. Teachers typically love their job. In public schools, job satisfaction is about 90%, and in private schools, it is 95%. When a teacher’s job satisfaction is high there is a positive effect on the educational outcomes of their students. Successful students are the goal of any teacher.

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. ---Brad Henry

Top 10 Qualities of an Effective Teacher

Attributes of a Successful Teacher

Successful Characteristics:

  1. A great teacher makes the children feel they belong and creates a sense of unity.
  2. The teacher respects each student and creates mutual respect in the classroom environment. They develop a strong rapport with the student, which will establish a trusting relationship.
  3. The teacher will value student ideas, and those students feel free to express their ideas.
  4. The great teacher is a skilled leader.
  5. A good teacher must engage and hold the attention of her students.
  6. Expectations are held high for each student.
  7. The teacher must have very effective disciplinary skills, but she must award positive behaviors.
  8. Good classroom management skills are a must for the great teacher as this will promote good student behavior.
  9. The great teacher will make every effort to have open communication with parents keeping them informed of any problem with their child. Teachers must be available for phone calls or meeting with their parents.
  10. The teacher must have a thorough understanding of the school’s curriculum and any other standards required by the school.
  11. Flexibility is also required when a lesson plan just is not working.
  12. The outstanding teacher has a love of learning that will inspire their students with their enthusiasm.
  13. The teacher will collaborate with their colleagues regularly.
  14. The great teacher will always be professional in every area, which includes their personal appearance and their preparedness for each day.

How to be a Good Teacher

Problems Teachers Face

There is always teacher shortages, and high schools in the west and the south have the largest shortages. Some teachers have complained about salaries. Grade school teachers typically earn from $42,000 to $77,000, and high school salaries range from $52,000 to $79,000, depending on the state where they live, Massachusetts and New York are the higher paying states.

Many teachers feel there is not enough time for teamwork as there is such a strong focus on student performance. Teamwork skills need to be developed in grade school. Teachers also have little time to even take a restroom break in many cases.

Teachers are often frustrated with the lack of parent involvement. The teacher must talk to parents with diplomacy as well.

Schools and district administrators require teachers to do a large volume of paperwork, which includes “grades and student growth indicators like SEL and collaboration”. This paperwork takes time away from time to prepare classwork for the students.



The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

--William Arthur Ward


A great teacher knows that each child is different, and they learn at different speeds, which causes problems with a fixed curriculum. Teachers must tailor the content for each subject to meet the very different needs of their students. Some people learn by just seeing or hearing, while some do better if they say it or write out what they need to learn.

A teacher really cannot have a bad day. At least no one can know if she does since she must leave any baggage outside the school doors. We should be grateful for all the teachers do for our children. Their commitment to the children is excellent for most teachers.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi RTolloni, I agree with your comments, as I know my granddaughter struggles as a teacher with some of these problems. You bring up several good points, and I appreciate your comments. i know my granddaughter spends her own money for supplies as she loves her students. She cries at the end of a school year since those students move up a grade, and she is so attached. The situation with the school systems is actually sad also.

  • RTalloni profile image


    11 months ago from the short journey

    A fine post for several reasons, one of the best being it gives opportunity for dialogue about great teachers. The load most carry is astounding, making me wonder why they let it continue.

    I know that truly caring for the students is a great motivator, yet I ask myself why, if they care for the students, they do not corporately stop the machine and work together to rework it. Since school systems are in need of teachers, the teachers have the upper hand. Maybe they are just too busy to think it through.

    School systems have become too big, become like large corporations, meaning teachers are used and tossed about when headquarters wants to implement a change. As well, the motivations of the NEA actually undermine good teachers' efforts.

    The problems teachers face are huge and need to be openly discussed. Thanks for opening up a conversation on them.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Peggy, I completely agree with your commen. As old as I am I remember the names of a couple of grade school teachers that had a positive impact on my life. I also remember a mean teacher that embarrassed you in front of your classmates in 5th grade, a Mrs. Crawford. She should not have been teaching!

    i think great teachers are so important, and good parenting as well. Thansk Peggy for your comments.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    11 months ago from Houston, Texas

    It is amazing the longtime influence a good teacher can have on how a student progresses through life. Of course, teaching starts at home with good parenting. The combination of good parents and good teachers is the best of all scenarios.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Bill, I have a strong feeling that you were a great teacher. I like those attributes, and I am glad you agre. Thanks for your comments.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    11 months ago from Olympia, WA

    I don't know about great, but I was a good teacher, and I totally agree with your attributes listed. A great teacher can inspire so many...let's hope they are all appreciated greatly and encouraged to continue.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Tim, Teachers certainly are under scrunity. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

    Tim Truzy 

    11 months ago from U.S.A.

    Excellent article, Pamela. You provide good guidelines for teachers to be "responsive."

    It was worth the read because the information is something many teachers should be aware of in this day and age especially since the profession is constantly under scrutiny.

    Much respect,



  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    T, I read that website, and it is disturbing. I did not agree with every word as I think children should have drills for safety due to school shootings. After all children in NM were being trained to do just that.

    The arrests of children was disturbing. I don't know if everything was true, but I did check out a couple of things they reported, and they were true. I still don't think this represents the majority, but obviously we need changes in many areas.

    I still think my article was designed to just give the attributes of what a great teacher is, and I know a few.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    I know indoctrination is a problem, and I will check out your suggested website. I still believe not all teachers are indoctrinating children, particularly grade school teachers. I think when students start studying history, civics and subjects like those is where many teachers and professors include their own views. Obviously those teachers are not great, and should be fired.

    There are some teachers that are underpaid, particularly in rural areas. I don't know why teachers protest as in many areas that are pretty well paid. I find that frustrating also.

    My goal with this article was to write about the attributes of those teachers that are great, and I hope they are the silent majoritey. I have three grandchildren that recently finished college and only one had a class they thought was controversial. All 3 are very conservative with Christian beliefs.

    I also think people homeschool their children to protect them from bullying and to control ther amount of soical media they are exposed to, etc.

    I do appreciate your views, and I wrote about problems in schools in my previous article.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    12 months ago from now on

    Again this is an excellent hubpage with great attributes all teachers should have but don’t kid yourself indoctrination is as rampant in public schools as colleges if not more. So, if that is true why aren’t more great teachers speaking out against it because it is a serious problem. This begs the question, well maybe there aren’t many great teachers any more? From what I’ve seen in Wisconsin and Kentucky of teachers protesting their gov’t they are more interested in their pay and pensions than educating children rightly.

    People home school their children because of the indoctrination they find going on in public schools. In case, Pam, you haven’t really investigated this problem you might start here:

    But please don’t take this as a criticism of your hubpage because I’ll say again you are right on, I taught secondary school myself, I just wonder where the great ones are these days, hopefully they are a silent majority.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    You daughter's experience is typical unfortunately. My granddaughter is a grade school teacher, and I can tell she is good by her stories. She loves those children. We do need more good ones. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    12 months ago from USA

    My daughter just graduated from high school and is now a college freshman. She had some very inspiring teachers and some terrible ones. The good ones pushed her to be the best she could be, challenged her ideas, encouraged and nurtured her strengths and worked on her opportunities. The bad ones belittled her personally and browbeat her for not getting something quickly enough (and she was a top gifted student!). Ultimately, she decided against pursuing STEM because of a teacher’s influence. We need more good ones!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Paula, I hol teachers in high esteem also. The ones I know are fully committed. Thanks for your comments.

    Hi T, I agree with you comments. Indoctrination seems to happen more in colleges, and it is wrong. I had a world religion teacher in college, and we were all trying to guess which religion was his choice. We never knew because he taught each religion with the same enthusiam. I think all teachers should keep there private views to themselves. I appreciate your comments.

  • tsadjatko profile image

    12 months ago from now on

    Excellent and thorough list for pre and pubescent children. Only thing I’d like to see here would be

    15. A good teacher should know the difference between teaching and indoctrination and teach the children the difference.

    Barack Obama trying to indoctrinate children with socialism is a good example of a bad teacher when Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, had written to all head teachers announcing the president's address as a "historic speech" and urging them to build lessons around it.

  • fpherj48 profile image


    12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    I have always been in somewhat "awe" of teachers. They deserve respect & admiration for the job they do with the youth of the world. There are very few teachers I have ever encountered who are not worthy of their positions. Most are really dedicated & the proof of course, is in the high achievements of their students.

    Here's to teachers everywhere. You are most appreciated! Paula

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Pop, I feel the same way about those hard working teachers. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida


    Teaching is a hard job. I appreciate your comments.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

    You've shared some great points in this article, Pamela. Teaching is a hard job, but it's a very important one.

  • breakfastpop profile image


    12 months ago

    There are some wonderful inspiring teachers out there who continue to make a difference in the lives of our children. I salute and applaud them.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Lora, I agree with all you have written. Thank you.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    12 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Maria, I agree completely that excellent teachers are unsung heros. My granddaughter is one of them, so this article meant a lot to me also.

    It is a shame that your friend's husband made such a poor salary for such a demanding job. Thanks for your comments

    I hope all is well with you. Hugs.

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    12 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

    This is a post that is especially meaningful for me. Excellent teachers are unsung heroes.

    One of my friend's husband is retiring from 30-years of being a phenomenal high school teacher. His salary last year was $19,000 - and I know he spent most of that salary on school supplies for his students. That's outrageous - yet great teachers are out there, thankfully.

    Have a peaceful weekend. Hugs, Maria

  • Lora Hollings profile image

    Lora Hollings 

    12 months ago

    Great article Pamela on what makes a great teacher. Your article brings to front and center those qualities that makes a teacher great as opposed to just mediocre. A great teacher does truly inspire and creates a love of learning in her students.

    I think that in order for a teacher to be great, she has to love teaching and cultivate an environment in the classroom that is conducive to learning. A teacher who shows respect for her students will also be more successful in achieving classroom behavior that shows mutual respect for each other and also sets the foundation for better attention in students and gives students the skills to work as a team in helping one another learn.

    Making each student feel as if they are important is also a quality that I think great teachers have! Not all students are going to be very fast learners and a joy to teach. Students show different aptitudes for learning and some come with emotional issues that can create obstacles in their ability to learn. A great teacher is an insightful one and learns to work with each child overcoming barriers and as your article states, instilling hope and confidence in themselves. Honing in on each child’s unique capabilities and talents is an attribute of a great teacher or i.e. building on their strengths to overcome weaknesses.

    Teachers have rewarding but very difficult jobs! I think that parents and people in the community should provide the support that they need to make their jobs less difficult and even more rewarding. People in the community who have special skills and can volunteer to help students attain greater proficiency in certain subjects are a great asset in making our schools better and in helping our teachers be their best. Education is fundamental in creating a more progressive society and a brighter future for all. When our teachers and schools succeed all of us benefit!


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