All of your life, you have been told that you should become a teacher. Do you have what it takes to be an effective educator? Beyond making the grade in your college courses, there are certain traits that help determine an effective teacher. Read on to see if you have what it takes.
You Can Organize Your Way Out of a Mess
Wrangling kids and assignments takes more than a good planner and a few sticky notes posted as reminders to get things done. Teaching requires a sixth sense operating in the background. Somehow you can keep different strings of thought running together.
No one knows the meaning of organization like a teacher. Take dozens of children, hundreds of assignments, and a stack of daily requirements and put them together in orderly fashion. If you find yourself capable of organizing chaos, you already possess one of the most important characteristics of a successful teacher.
Multitasking is a first cousin to organization. The need to multitask goes beyond simply organizing stacks of loose papers and dueling schedules. As a teacher you must be prepared constantly to wear multiple hats depending on the needs of your students at any given time.
You Are Flexible
If you are consistently able to adapt to the needs of others around you, teaching may be your calling. Imagine that you are standing center stage in front of a room filled with adolescents trying to impart to them the importance of the Pythagorean Theorem. An argument ensues between students. You are thrust into multiple roles.
On one hand, you are still a math teacher. On the other hand, you have now become a counselor, a referee, and possibly a judge. Teaching requires flexibility. Dealing with children day in and day out requires the ability to shift into whatever role is needed at the given moment.
For younger children, this is especially true. You might be a substitute parent. For special needs kids you might be their voice and loyal advocate. Either way, teaching requires the ability to read the situation and adapt quickly.
You can Make Do With Few Resources
You are the McGuyver of art projects. Given few resources, you can whip up a science fair project worthy of blue ribbons. If you are able to create brilliance with few resources, you might be a teacher.
Educational funding is notoriously limited. In some areas, teachers buy classroom supplies out of their own pockets just to ensure their students have everything they need. Putting together a few resources is a staple talent of a teacher.
You Can Love the Unlovable
Compassion is a must for a teacher. Each student has a background and a story that affects their ability to relate to others in the classroom. As a teacher, you have the desire to take even the toughest kids under your wing and nurture them until they blossom into the best versions of themselves.
A teacher can see the diamond in the rough. To you, all young people have value. You can see past a tough demeanor and love the person within. Regardless of the setting, you have a big heart that rejoices when others succeed. You see the best in people, and you are optimistic that there is good in everyone.
You Are Patient While Others are Speaking
A toddler attempts to tell you a joke for the tenth time. You listen as enthusiastically as you did the first time. Your ability to remain patient while others are speaking means you might have the makings of a wonderful teacher.
Teachers spend their working lives around young people who are not equipped to communicate clearly like an adult. If you can sit still while a first grader relates a story to you, you are indeed destined for teaching greatness.
The need for patience extends well beyond the early elementary years. Teens and preteens are notorious for their resistance to communicating with the adults in their lives. As a compassionate teacher, you can listen as long as it takes.
You Check Your Ego at the Door
Seeing another person succeed is more important to you than recognition for your own brilliance. You are happiest when others around you shine. If you are happy to watch others enjoy their moment in the sun, you might be a teacher.
The teaching profession requires you to have an ego that is easily checked. The goal at the end of the day is not to prove yourself right, but to prove to your students what they can do.
You Have a Wicked Sense of Humor
You find yourself able to laugh at the silliest knock-knock jokes. Not only can you laugh at silly humor, but you have the ability to tell a story and capture the interest of the small people in the room.
Humor is a must for hours spent with children of all ages. More than just laughing at the oddest jokes, you must find humor in difficult situations. You can laugh at yourself and move beyond mistakes.
You Have the Heart of a Volunteer
If you find yourself pitching in for the good of others regardless of reward, you have the heart of a teacher. At the core of every teacher is a volunteer. Teaching is a noble career choice. At the end of the day, however, it is more than a job. It is a calling.
A lengthy study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that teachers who worked with Teach for America, a nonprofit group dedicated to preparing the best leaders for the future, performed better on end-of-year tests than other teachers. The conclusion had less to do with the training Teach for America teachers receive and more to do with the characteristics the applicants possess in the first place.
If you are anything like the characteristics described above, you might be a natural teacher. Children are drawn to you. You have the ability to reach them on their level, no matter how difficult the job may be.