If you're thinking about becoming a teacher, you might be wondering what it takes to be really good at the job. You've probably known some good teachers, maybe even some great ones, and you may have noticed that some people just seem to have a knack for it. Like a few famous baseball players, they're just "naturals."
It's entirely possible that you too might be a natural, whether you're thinking about teaching or you're already a teacher. Here are some of the traits that good teachers often exhibit. Do any of them sound like you?
1. You're a Good Organizer
Thanks to you, the family cookout isn't burdened by six people bringing bags of chips, four people bringing paper products, and zero people bringing hot dogs or potato salad. You're always thinking ahead and handing out the assignments.
2. You Give Directions People Can Actually Follow
You can explain how to do something in a few simple steps at a time. What's more, you love teaching people how to do things, even when they have no interest whatsoever in learning how to do them (like loading the dishwasher or doing laundry).
3. You're Patient When Others Make Mistakes While Learning
You understand that kids sometimes do things because they're, well, kids. You don't get angry when milk is spilled or if a baby cries at a restaurant. (It's completely fine if it bugs you when parents let their kids just run around. How does that old saying go? "Parents, if you love your kids, teach them to behave so that others will love them too!")
Further Reading: One Teacher's Path to Special Education
4. You Have a Great Sense of Humor and Can Laugh at Yourself
Some stuff is just funny—even downright hilarious. If you're meeting with a parent and you have a big a smudge of glue across your cheek, it's just another one of life's LOL moments.
5. You Have a Teacher's Voice, and You're Not Afraid to Use It
A teacher friend of mine was going up the T-bar at a ski resort. The two kids ahead of her were fooling around, and she was afraid they'd fall off and cause a pileup. In her best teacher voice, she called out, "You guys cut that out and behave yourselves!" The kids straightened up—and so did the adult couple ahead of them.
6. It Seems Like You Have Eyes in the Back of Your Head
That's because you have ears on the sides of your head; you hear what you can't see. When it comes to working with kids, you know that silence isn't always golden.
7. You're Optimistic
You have a core belief that things will get better, the rain will stop, people are basically good, and kids will learn that whining gets them nowhere. You believe that all kids can learn—some will learn faster than others, but everyone will get there in the end.
8. You're Good at Telling Jokes or Stories
You know how to capture your listener's interest. You understand that timing is everything. You don't mess up the punch line, and you don't tell the same joke over and over. More importantly, you appreciate other people's jokes. Even corny jokes. Even knock-knock jokes. Maybe especially knock-knock jokes.
9. You Don't Talk When Others Are Talking, and You Expect the Same
10. You Like Occasions When You Get to Dress Up in a Costume
You also don't care if it's a silly costume. You might be the Cat in the Hat for Reading Day or an ear of corn for Halloween. It's just fun (see #3).
Further Reading: Why There's Never Been a Better Time to Consider Becoming a Teacher
Many of these traits—optimism, a sense of humor, and patience, for example—are really essential for all teachers. But even if they don't all come naturally, you can polish the traits that do and add to your skills as you grow. All that matters is you can still be a great teacher without ever dressing up as anything but yourself!