Top 4 Qualities of a Good Teacher

How does your child's teacher measure up?

Teacher Standing in Front of a Class of Raised Hands.
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Think back to your favorite grade school teacher. Chances are you remember that teacher well, no matter how long it's been since you were last in elementary school. You also remember the reason or all the reasons why that teacher was your favorite. Maybe he was patient and kind, or maybe she taught you to love math. Whatever the reason, research has long known that good teachers have certain characteristics in common — so how can you really tell if your child has a good teacher?

4 Top Qualities of a Good Teacher

Having a good teacher is very important — after all, it's the mental health and well-being of your child that is at stake. Your child spends eight hours of their day with that teacher, it only makes sense that you try and understand the person helping raise your child with you.

Research dating back to the sixties has determined that there are four qualities in a teacher that both students and parents seem to respond best to. These four qualities are:

Positive Personalities

Effective teachers act in a warm, open manner. They are friendly and approachable to students, fellow staff and parents. Good teachers also allow students to get to know them as a person rather than simply as a teacher. This is especially important during the tween years when kids begin to seek out non-familial role models. Kids who successfully develop a bond with their teachers have been shown to be more resilient when coping with struggles at home and with peers.

Work Well With Students

Good teachers also have consistently positive, supportive interactions with their students. They applaud student success rather than always focusing on what students are doing wrong. During lessons, effective teachers make opportunities to interact one-on-one with students as much as possible.

They also work to tailor lessons for different levels of ability, including making appropriate accommodations to support students with learning disabilities.

Communicate Effectively

The communication skills of good teachers typically are extremely strong. Whether when speaking, writing emails to parents, or engaging in conversations with other school personnel, effective teachers know how to convey thoughts clearly and directly. They are especially good at communicating their expectations to students and, ideally, also sharing those expectations with parents.

In addition, good teachers make themselves consistently available for student and parent meetings, during which conversations are focused and problem-oriented, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Advanced Academics.

Work to Better Themselves

Finally, good teachers engage in a variety of professional development activities. They attend conferences and/or take classes to continually build their teaching skills, and often engage with colleagues on projects to enhance the school at large.

Effective teachers also spend time planning lessons so that they run smoothly and make the best use of available time.

Is Your Child's Teacher Lacking In These Areas?

So what happens if your child's teacher is lacking the above mentioned qualities? Do you immediately demand that your child be switched out of the class? Well, for the sake of your child, you may want to broach the issue gently and try a series of different approaches first — first you need to stop and truly get to the bottom of what's going as the stories that you have heard from your child (or sometimes other moms and dads) may not be the whole story.

For a more in-depth look at what to do, read "What To Do About A Bad Teacher" to first identify the real problem and then to take the necessary steps required to help your child be the best student they can be.

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