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Top Qualities And Skills Of A Good Teacher

Apr 29, 2024

Teachers mold the future of our society by guiding, educating, and inspiring the next generation. While all teachers impart knowledge, great teachers ignite creativity, curiosity, integrity, and a lifelong love of learning, shaping not just what students know, but also how they think and engage with the world. Most adults can recall teachers who exceeded the standard job expectations to provide mentorship and guidance that left a lasting impression on them. Similarly, many people remember teachers who lacked the persistence, patience, and empathy needed to truly connect with students and help them reach their full potential.

So, what makes a good teacher? Keep reading to discover some of the teaching skills and personality traits that distinguish exceptional educators from the rest.

Traits of a Good Teacher 

Every student has their own set of strengths and needs. Similarly, each teacher has their own unique personality and skill set. The diversity among teachers enriches the educational experience by offering students varied perspectives and experiences. Still, there are some important qualities that all good teachers tend to possess. Teachers who embody the qualities of a role model can improve their students’ learning experiences and outcomes.


Educating young minds is a journey marked by incremental, sometimes even imperceptible, progress. Rarely does a student immediately grasp a complicated concept or fully follow instructions the first time they’re explained. Teachers must be prepared to handle frustrating challenges and setbacks, both in academic instruction and behavior management. Patience is essential. By remaining calm yet persistent, teachers can effectively navigate these difficulties and foster a positive learning environment where students feel safe, respected, and empowered to succeed.


Regardless of their age, students contend with significant emotions and often cope with personal challenges that teachers are unaware of. By considering students’ perspectives and empathizing with their experiences, teachers can build the trust and rapport necessary for genuine connection. As Anne Sullivan, the renowned teacher of Hellen Keller, says, “Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.” Offering a sympathetic ear to a student in distress, responding with compassion instead of frustration when a student forgets their supplies, and breaking down complicated assignments into manageable steps are all examples of empathy in action. 


Some students easily breeze through math assignments but struggle to comprehend themes in literature. Others excel during independent activities but grow restless or uncooperative during group activities. For teachers, knowing how to accommodate students’ diverse learning styles and interests isn’t easy. It’s a skill that requires patience, flexibility, and practice. Even when a teacher meticulously crafts a differentiated lesson plan tailored to students’ needs, unforeseen interruptions, complications, delays, and challenges can derail their plans. The ability to pivot and adapt to changing circumstances is one of the most important qualities a teacher can have. 

Continuous Learning Mindset 

Exceptional teachers are lifelong learners who consistently look for ways to enhance their skills. Whether it involves participating in a professional development program, going back to school for a master’s degree, or reading books about the art of teaching, embracing a continuous learning mindset empowers educators to stay current in this rapidly evolving field. Ongoing professional growth enables teachers to study the latest best practices and teaching techniques so they’re equipped to meet the needs presented by modern classrooms. It also sets a powerful example for students about the value of continuing education. 

Skills of a Good Teacher  

While skills like lesson planning, differentiation, and classroom management are essential, effective teachers go beyond these fundamentals. They leverage a broad spectrum of non-pedagogical abilities to help students achieve their goals, overcome challenges, and fulfill their academic potential. 

Cultural Competence 

Teachers educate students from diverse cultural, religious, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Recognizing and respecting these differences is vital to being an effective and culturally competent teacher. Biases and stereotypes can have a detrimental impact on students' academic progress and sense of belonging. Teachers should strive to create a fair and inclusive learning environment. 

Stress Management

From managing disruptive behavior to navigating resource limitations, teachers face stressful situations daily. Even the most experienced teachers can become overwhelmed or anxious. By finding healthy ways to manage stress and cope with challenges, teachers can ensure that their own emotions don’t negatively impact the classroom. Students need teachers who can model effective stress management techniques and foster a sense of calm during difficulties.


Interpersonal communication skills are paramount for any teacher. Teachers need to communicate effectively with students and collaborate with other teachers, administration, parents, and community members. To do so, they must learn to articulate their needs and expectations clearly, engage in active listening, and accept constructive feedback when necessary.

Student Engagement 

Exceptional teachers deliver dynamic, interactive lessons that encourage active engagement. In today's high-stimulation environment, simply standing at the front of the classroom and delivering a lecture is insufficient. Great teachers make learning fun. They understand what motivates and intrigues their students so they can craft lessons that pique their interest and encourage participation.  

Bringing Skills to Life: Practical Applications in the Classroom  

Teachers undergo extensive education and training to learn the skills they need to be an effective educator. However, theoretical knowledge is only a small piece of the puzzle. The true challenge lies not in acquiring these skills but in applying them to actual classroom settings.

Adaptability and Engagement: The Keys to Modern Education  

The educational landscape has experienced unprecedented changes in recent times. Rapid technological advancements have opened new avenues for student engagement, personalized learning, and improved accessibility. In today’s modern classrooms, teachers can harness multimedia tools such as videos, audio recordings, and images to bring lessons to life. Using adaptive learning software, they can provide students with customized learning modules that cater to varying ability levels. Some teachers even use technology to take students on virtual field trips or conduct simulated science experiments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology allowed remote learning environments that kept students safe while still allowing them to stay current with their studies. 

However, technological advancements also bring new challenges for both students and teachers. For example, some studies report that cell phones in the classroom negatively impact test scores and reduce long-term knowledge retention. There are also concerns about how screen time affects child development. Educators are consistently adapting their teaching methods to ensure student engagement while keeping pace with the rise of technology in education. 

Empathy and Patience: Understanding the Student Perspective  

There is a growing recognition that teachers have a significant impact on their students beyond academic instruction. Increasingly, schools are instituting programs to address mental health concerns, bullying, diversity and inclusion, and other critical social issues. Mental wellness programs equip teachers with the tools and training necessary to nurture students’ psychological health and recognize the signs that a student is struggling. Schools are also establishing programs and policies to combat discrimination and bullying. For these programs to be effective, teachers must understand their students' perspectives and treat them with compassion. Research shows that empathy, sympathy, tolerance, and kindness are core components of positive teacher-student relationships, ultimately fostering greater learning motivation and engagement. By cultivating empathy and gaining insight into their students’ viewpoints, teachers can create a supportive environment that promotes compassion, inclusion, and understanding among both students and instructors. 

How to Become a Better Teacher 

Like their students, great teachers are constantly learning and growing. They understand the importance of personal and professional development and consciously seek opportunities for improvement. By examining and refining their teaching practices, implementing feedback, and adjusting their strategies when needed, teachers can continuously improve their students’ learning experiences. 

Teachers who want to build their skill sets and become more effective educators can take several steps to do so. Earning a master’s degree in education can help teachers develop their expertise in curriculum design, data-informed practices, educational leadership, systems management, and subject-specific competencies. Many teachers who acquire master’s degrees gain crucial insights into how students learn and discover new methods for increasing classroom engagement and improving student outcomes. 

In addition to pursuing formal education, teachers can elevate their skills by:

  • Attending education conferences, workshops, seminars, and other professional development events that offer insights about how to be a good teacher.
  • Reading articles and listening to podcasts about educational studies and new teaching techniques.
  • Researching the newest teaching tools and techniques.
  • Sharing resources, ideas, and insights with colleagues.
  • Collaborating with experienced teachers and administrators who can provide mentorship and guidance.

Are you passionate about making a meaningful impact on students’ lives through a career in teaching? At WGU, we believe in going beyond the basics of pedagogy to provide a comprehensive education that prepares our graduates to meet the challenges of the modern classroom. Our CAEP-accredited Teachers College includes more than 30 high-quality education degree programs that can equip you with the skills you need to excel. WGU’s online, competency-based degree programs offer a unique opportunity to earn a degree at a pace that works for you and your schedule. Providing students the freedom to study when and where it’s most convenient for them, our degree programs meet the needs of aspiring educators and current teachers alike. There are also many opportunities for financial aid. Take the first step toward achieving your professional ambitions by applying today.

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