Characteristics of a Teacher

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Image by Nuttakit

Early in my teaching career I had an administrator ask me an interesting question:

What characteristics do you value in a potential teacher?

This question was asked before interviewing a few candidates for an upper elementary grade level teaching position. From what I remember, my response primarily consisted of the candidate being able to follow the district’s protocols, the ability to create lesson plans, and handle classroom management.  Looking back now, my answers originated from what I learned during my undergraduate experience.  If I was going to answer the question now, my answer would be vastly different.

Three Characteristics:

1.)  Communication

The teacher should have solid communication skills.  These skills are important, not only for instruction delivery, but also in communicating expectations to the community.  Teachers need to be able to use technology to deliver updates and keep parents in the loop to what is happening in the classroom.  Often, non-communication may be perceived as not caring.  Trouble can brew from unbalanced expectations from the teacher or parent.

2.)  Collaboration

Working together with limited resources happens frequently in the education sector. Having the ability to collaboratively work within a grade level team, as well as a school team benefits an entire school.  Teachers who embrace the idea that not only are the students in their class valued, but the entire school is full of learners and all stakeholders are responsible for the students.

3.)  Focus on Student Learning

Teachers need to be able to understand their role in the student learning process.  Teachers play many roles in the classroom, but student learning should be the focal point.  Student achievement data, in a variety of forms can be helpful in driving instruction decisions.  Teachers who are able to analyze student data to make instructional decisions are extremely valuable.  Curriculum is only as good as the teacher who is utilizing the resource.  To meet students’ needs teachers need to be able to identify students’ academic learning needs and address how to utilize resources to meet the needs of each student in the classroom.  In order to ensure that students are learning at high levels, teachers need to be able to access practical professional development opportunities to improve their craft, therefore increasing student learning.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a few key components that I find valuable.  21st century teachers need to be able to have a variety of skills that enable students to learn at optimal levels.