There are teacher skills that a person must either possess, or strive to develope.
After a few years of teaching, I’ve come to the conclusion that this profession isn’t for everyone.
Other blogs talk about the generic skills, but there seems to be little depth to them.
This article is just an honest conversation (from me to you) about the skills that a teacher needs to have
6 Brutally Honest Skills That Every Teacher Needs To Have (Or Be Willing To Work On)
1. Have patience
Whether you teach online or in-person, every teacher needs to have patience. Patience may come naturally to some, but for those that it doesn’t, patience is a skill that should be developed.
You’re human, there will be days that you’re just not feeling “work” that day. I have had several days that I’ve probably pushed the limit on keeping cool when my patience has been tested.
That being said, those are the days that remaining calm should be the main concern.
Students, no matter the age nor the subject that you teach, are there to learn from you. You are, in a way, the leader and the main authority on the subject for each individual student. Not only that, but you may be the only stable constant in a student’s life. All jobs are stressful to some degree.
Every job also requires some form of patience, but being a teacher requires a lot of it. You need to give yourself an honest self-evaluation.
Do you have a higher patience threshold than others?
Can you handle stress from not only students?
When work bleeds into your non-work life, can your homelife handle the stress?
How would you the handle stress that comes from parents?
Are you able to control your emotional outbursts when you’ve reached your limit?
I believe that patience is a skill that can be improved. I’ve really had to work hard on mine.
So let me ask you “is patience a trait that comes natural to you“?
If not, can you accept that about yourself, apply the proper mindset, and honestly work hard to improve it?
2. Be able to communicate
As a teacher, you are responsible for a student’s education on a specific subject. Being able to pass along your knowledge is a crucial teaching skill that one must either have or be willing to work hard to develop.
Presenting the information that you possess is a performance skill that may take time to craft, but it is imperative if your students are to learn what you are there to teach.
To be brutally honest, this is not my strong suit. I struggled to articulate, much less plan, my own lessons.
Because of this fact, I decided to work for a company that provided a teaching framework with lesson plans completely laid out for me.
Communicating your knowledge to a student is literally what teaching is all about. This may be a teaching skill that comes more naturally to others, but for me… I really struggled with it in the beginning.
You can become more efficient with practice, of course, but there may be a learning curve that you weren’t expecting once you’re actually in the act of teaching.
3. Classroom organization
If you’re teaching from home online or teaching in a classroom environment, you will need to be organized. A good teacher doesn’t have to have perfect organization skills, but they must be able to be somewhat organized.
Keeping some form of classroom organization will not only allow you to be able to transition from one lesson to the next, but to also be able to keep track of your student’s performance.
When it comes to my house, my organizational skills are weak.
My classroom organization skills, however, are grade-A.
As I’m now an online-only teacher, I need everything to be at my fingertips.
I need to be able to transition from one slide to the next while keeping student rewards within reach.
4. Conflict resolution
Resolving conflicts is a skill that teachers don’t want to have to utilize. Conflict resolution is necessary for both in-person and online classroom environments.
As a teacher, you will need to be able to calm an unruly student down, de-escalate a verbal altercation amongst students, or know when to discreetly bring in a third party to get involved.
Each school system likely has a set of guidelines to refer to or perhaps even provide conflict resolution training.
For online classroom environments, teachers may face digitally unruly students. Students who are causing distractions in online classrooms can affect other students’ ability to learn.
Even with one-to-one teacher-to-student classroom environments, there will always be a student that completely shuts down and decides not to participate.
Being online brings a new set of complications, but being able to resolve conflicts is still a skill that transitions between both classroom environments.
From physical unruliness in an in-person classroom, to digitally distracting students online, conflict resolution is a teaching skill that sucks to have to implement.
5. Be able to motivate
Teachers don’t have to be Tony Robbins, but they do need to be able to keep their students somewhat motivated.
Motivation is one of the teacher skills that you shouldn’t overlook, but you also shouldn’t overthink it either.
Not everyone can be the most motivating teacher, but it is important to try to keep the students as motivated as possible.
Motivated students will be more eager to learn and more likely to pay attention to your lessons.
Motivating your students doesn’t have to be all about “hype” or “energetic” tactics.
Instead, some teachers may need to focus more on student engagement, rewards, and/or acknowledgment of a student’s accomplishments.
Motivation can spawn from many different faucets, go with what is most natural for you and your teaching style, but do make it a conscious part of your methodology.
For me, my natural way of motivating people has always been doneso by shedding light on their improvements. This is how I also try and motivate my students.
Even if they aren’t progressing at a curriculum’s recommended pace.
This just means that I need to work harder or figure out a better way to help the student continue their progression.
Regardless, every student progresses to some degree, I focus on that positive and I let them know that I see it in them.
6. Understand your limitations
Let’s face it, no one is perfect. Even your favorite childhood teacher had their shortcomings.
Most wouldn’t consider this a skill, but I would at least think of it as a necessary self-assessment.
Are you good with Kindergarten children?
Are you better with elementary or middle-school age ranges?
Maybe you’re not good with either of those ranges, but instead with teens or young adults.
When you’re thinking about becoming a teacher, you should also think about your preferred age ranges that best suit your personality and fall within your natural limitations.
We can always strive to be better teachers, but starting with a smooth, natural-feeling foundation will always be recommended.