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How Can A Teacher Be Effective?

Updated on October 16, 2011

Have you ever had a teacher who taught in a way that made the class enjoyable? Why did you favor a teacher than another? Have you ever felt like a teacher was wasting your time and not teaching the material?

Although still a student in high school, I have had several teachers that I either enjoyed having or disliked because of the way they led a classroom environment. After comparing some of my favorite teachers to the teachers I liked the least, from my point of view there are three basic qualities or traits that make a teacher effective in a classroom.


Teachers who have a daily routine or some sort of routine in the classroom during the year helps students know what to expect and be prepared. It allows students to have a sense of what future classes will consist of. People usually like familiarity and it can benefit the students because they will feel comfortable about going to class with prior knowledge of what they will face.

For example, my English teacher would always start each class with 15 minutes of SSR, silent sustained reading. My history teacher did something similar; we kept a journal where we had to copy down the writing prompt and answer it when class started.

Usually before class starts, the students have had break or lunch and are coming into the classroom while socializing. A routine in the beginning of class involving students to do something quietly and by themselves, help transition their mind into a zone of focus and become ready to learn.

Clear Lesson Plans

Letting the students know what they will be doing in class for the day is a good practice of letting them know what to expect. I suggest writing down the class agenda for the day somewhere like on the front of the whiteboard; having it visible to the teacher and students is just a reminder to try and cover the lessons before class ends. Having a set plan of topics to cover shows that the teacher is prepared.

For notes and classwork activities, it is useful to teach a topic or subtopic and having students title their work appropriately. If you are giving notes about a certain idea, let the students know what that idea is because it may not always be clear to them. Let them know why the content is relevant, and how it relates to some other activity you will practice doing. Although this seems like a common way of teaching, I feel like some teachers do not carry out this practice effectively.

The math teacher I currently have for Math Analysis is a bad example of not being clear of what she is teaching. She would start explaining some random problem from our homework, but she would not really state the main idea. It was hard to follow because I would be unclear on what she was teaching. If she would have started by saying something like, "In problem number 45, you have to find the area under the curve. To find the area under the curve, first you..." it would be easier for me to understand what she was trying to get across.

A Sense of Authority

Teachers cannot be pushovers and they also cannot be too strict. A teacher showing that they are the boss in the classroom and that they have control wil create a good learning environment.

I've experienced being a student in a classroom with a teacher who could not handle the students. The teacher would let students continue to disrupt the class and not follow up with any consequences for their improper behavior. The students kept talking and did what they wanted because they got the feeling that the teacher wouldn't really do anything about it.

When students have the idea that they can get away with improper behavior, they tend to not take the class or teacher seriously. As a student, it was hard for me to pay attention and be focused in class when other classmates where busy talking and socializing.

Teachers should be a leader in the classroom; they have to show that they will not tolerate inappropriate behavior that hinders the learning environment for other students. Being able to get the students to focus and behave in the classroom is an important skill for a teacher. Sometimes it can get too loud and boisterous and having a sharp, strong tone of voice can let students know that you are being serious. A teacher must have the ability to control the students in a classroom.

In your opinion

What other characteristics do you think a teacher should possess? What do you think makes a good teacher? How would you differentiate a "good" teacher from a "bad" teacher? Do you have a particular teacher that you favored? Why?

Leave your response in the comments!


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    • livingconsciously profile image

      livingconsciously 6 years ago

      @TattooKitty I also liked knowing that a teacher was there for us and actually cared whether or not we succeeded.

      @LeeGenchrist That's awesome! I hope that you are pushing some of your students as well! Maybe you're inspiring some of your students!

    • LeeGenchrist profile image

      LeeGenchrist 6 years ago from Northeast

      It is very helpful to hear what works for students, from a student! Thanks for the post. One of my favorite teachers sought to challenge me in ways that I did not expect. He pushed me to join the track and cross-country team, even though I didn't think I wanted to. Previous to his challenge, I was disaffected and tired of school. I owe him for reinvigorating my love for school. It is because of teachers like him that I am now a teacher!

    • TattooKitty profile image

      TattooKitty 6 years ago from Hawaii

      I'd say "love" ;) When students know that a teacher truly cares about them, they are more eager to learn. Also, I believe that creating a safe and positive classroom environment, bringing humor to the curriculum, and being a positive role model are keys to student success as well!