Wednesday, March 10, 2010


A Positive Outlook- Look for the best in each student and every situation. Encourage others to be positive as well. If you are passionate about your subject, the children will be, too. Enthusiasm rubs off.

Friendly Personality- Establish and maintain good working relationships with students, teachers, administrators and parents. For instance, a good teacher needs to have innovative ways to open up conversations with shy students or disgruntled parents. It’s important to share with other teachers as well.

Confidence- Teachers will experience problem students, or lessons that don’t quite work in the classroom. Develop a thick skin and be able to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake.

A Sense of Humor- Humor is a great way to break the ice and get kids talking. It also helps kids to stay attentive in class. A good teacher knows how to take the tension out of tight situations, uses humor, spontaneously, in a tasteful manner and builds togetherness in the classroom, through the use of humor.

Dependability- It’s important to be on time, and consistently live up to your commitments.

Patience- Sometimes students just don’t get a concept. A good teacher must continue to think of new ways to teach the concept until they understand.

Communication Skills- To connect with students you not only need to be passionate about what you’re teaching, but you need to be interesting too.

Organizational Skills- There’s lots of paperwork in teaching. You need to put a system in place that will make efficient use of your time.

Flexibility- If you’re not getting through to a student, you have to be flexible enough to change your approach. It’s important to be available for extra help or extra-curricular activities. Even little things can affect kids ability to learn like the weather, the temperature in the classroom, or the time of day. A good teacher needs to change her approach to suit the current conditions.

Creative Curriculum Techniques- Because there are many different learning styles, you need to think out of the box.

Some children need to experience learning with their bodies. For instance, integrate movement activities into phonics, math, or science.

Some children learn better with visuals. Design a room using magazine pictures, fabric, paint, tile and wallpaper swatches. Use math skills to calculate how much material is needed to complete the project.

Kathy Stemke, a former classroom teacher, has recently retired to become a full time children’s author and freelance writer. She has a B.S. degree from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, as well as graduate coursework from New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. As an author she has published several articles, and her first children’s books, Moving Through All Seven Days. Two more picture books, Trouble on Earth Day, and Sh, Sh, Sh Will the Baby Sleep? are scheduled for release in 2010!

This post is part of the Teaching Jobs Portal: “How to land a Teacher Job”. What was your journey like to become a teacher? If you’d like to share your experience with other aspiring teachers please see this post for more information.

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Jaleta Clegg said...

I work in an elementary school and you nailed it! A willing attitude and a pleasant disposition will get you far in a school environment.

kathy stemke said...

Thanks, Jaleta. I wrote this article to try to help a teacher win money for a school project.

Jean said...

After teaching kids in Sunday School, I realized teaching on a regular basis was not for me.

terri.forehand said...

I taught high school students for several years and I found being an intensive care nurse was easier... you hit it with this article. Very good tips.

Kristi Bernard said...

This is really right on point. Communication is key and where kids are involved a sense of humor is really important.

Dorothy Rimson said...

Nice one...