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What makes a good teacher?

Updated on August 23, 2017

Teaching Article: How to be a good teacher

Is teaching an art? Is teaching a learned skill? Actually, I believe it is a little bit of both. There is an art to teaching. Sometimes it comes natural, sometimes it needs to be drawn out over time. Perhaps experience and longevity contribute to this "art." Just as one can take classes in painting, one needs some classes on how to teach. But there certainly must be something else there in order to be a great or even a good, teacher!

First of all, you have to want to be in your classroom. And be there on time and daily. If you do not want to be there, how can you teach? If you have some bad classes, adapt! If you don't want to be there, it will show. And your students will suffer.

Be friendly, positive, fair, balanced, If you are strict, and you certainly should be or you will have problems, you will be respected if you are all four of those! Students want rules and expectations. But they want you to be fair and everyone on a level playing field. You are not there to trick your students or make life especially hard.

Know each and every one of your students in a personal and professional way. Be there for them. Always. If it means getting to school early, staying late, or even giving up a lunch break, do it. Nobody is going to help your students more than you.

Know the parents. Parents want teachers to include them, even if just for conversation. An added bonus is that calling home is a great classroom discipline technique. You can ward off problems by calling parents on a regular basis. It really does not take much time. 3-4 minutes a parent, calling 10 or so parents each night.

Are you an expert on your subject? If not, you had better be prepared! Work overtime outside of class to prepare perfect lessons. Students know when teachers stumble and they will eat you alive.

Never raise your voice in anger, show anger, or any other similar emotion. Remember, you must have a positive classroom, be a positive teacher, in order to get positive students.

More articles: How to be a great teacher!

Click here for FREE worksheets!
Click here for FREE worksheets!

My experience as a public school teacher

I am now semi-retired, having spent the last 10 years a college lecturer. I spent many years in the public school system before that. And here are some of my observations.

There are a lot of good teachers out there. Sadly, they are outnumbered by others who are not so good. I got there early and left late. Many teachers would show up a minute before the bell, and be out the door almost before the students. They just went through the motions. Many showed videos, sat back, and relaxed. Videos are not teaching. And worksheets? Oh how some teachers love to pass out handouts and worksheets. Again, sit back, relax.

Get to school early. Plan great days, not videos or worksheets. Engage your students in real learning.

The only time I saw most teachers line up eagerly for anything, was when someone brought donuts to the staff room.

Faculty meetings? Most of these were clique-fests. Teachers in there own groups gossiping, while the principal or other poor sap was trying to give out information. Teachers as a whole hate these meetings and feel they can just sit there and good off.

And these same teachers could not understand why their students did not pay attention. Amazing.

If you are going into the teaching profession, then actually WANT to be a great teacher!

>>Free teaching strategy from!

No Classroom Rules? Yup!

A good teacher has no classroom rules.

You know a good teacher when you see no rules in the classroom. Or, if there are, there is at most three.

Why? Because every student knows how they are supposed to behave. Good teachers have students who understand and follow this.

When teachers try to make a list, they can't list everything. Some students think lists are the final word. So, if throwing paper is not on the list, well, why can't I do it?

Many teachers are very caught up in rules. Bad idea. A good teacher has stellar classroom management and discipline down and have no worries about any "rules."

>>Classroom Discipline Tips

Are most teachers good teachers? - Or are they all good, just put in bad situations?

Give your thoughts on teachers and the teaching profession.

So, how about those teachers?

What are your thoughts on teachers?

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    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice article about teachers!

      I have always enjoyed teaching and I have taught both primary classes as well as secondary classes. It is really satisfying when students are totally involved, rather asking for more from a teacher and I have been fortunate to enjoy this from my students.

      I believe the teacher should not only inspire but should ignite the thirst for knowledge among students.

      Thanks for sharing this valuable hub and thanks for the follow as well!

    • Michelllle profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm a teacher. This is not a simple question- the good bad thing. One thing is true- it is the hardest profession anyone can choose. Gotta love it or get out.

    • delia-delia profile image


      5 years ago

      Colin below says you never forget the really good ones...I wish I could remember just one good one! It's a long story about my immigrating here after the war in Germany...I was German, so you get the picture. I was reared to be polite and courteous, no matter what, no doubt it was hard. But one learns through their life experiences and chooses to be the way they are...JMO

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You never forget the really good ones. They are the ones that inspire you - and show their interest in you - as a person - not just as an exam statistic.

    • Flora Crew profile image

      Flora Crew 

      5 years ago from Evanston, Illinois

      My teachers have inspired me!

    • profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 

      5 years ago

      Lots to think about.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent lens on a topic that can help a lot of people who are in the teaching field. Thank you for publishing this lens. It was an enjoyable learning experience.


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