As a freshman in high school, I’ve had a number of fantastic teachers, so I’ve learned what characteristics make a teacher great. Patience, energy, and creativity are all qualities that teachers need to be successful. However, there are deeper traits that are also important.
The ability to balance open and friendly relationships with students while remaining an authoritative figure (this struggle is mostly present with teens) is hard, but rewarding. My 8th grade theater teacher Mr. McCoy was a pro at this. With Mr. McCoy, students could be open about how they were doing and what they were going through without fear of judgment. But they also knew that they needed to listen to his direction and treat him with respect.
Being able to talk openly with a teacher and receive his or her advice is a benefit that all students should have. Having a relationship of trust gives students a sense of security and someone to turn to when they feel like they have no one else.
Another trait that separates educators from other professionals (and makes them extraordinary) is passion. Teachers who love the subject they teach—and show excitement about exploring it with their students—make it easier for students to get interested.
Teachers have the ability to change the lives of their students while preparing them for the future. When they focus on developing positive relationships with their students and demonstrating passion for what they do, they create a better learning environment for students.
Garrett deGraffenreid is a freshman at a public school in the Dallas area. He enjoys music and religious activities in his community and blogs for the Huffington Post.
The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.