As they say on the advertising campaign, ‘Those who can, teach’ but what is it that they are exactly referring to when they talk about those who ‘can’? Teaching is something that many people would like to do in their careers but if you want to go on to become a great teacher like Peter Benedict St Andrew’s principal, you will need to be able to do a great deal more than just impart knowledge.
When it comes to what you ‘can’ do, the possibilities are limitless but when it comes down to becoming a teacher, you are going to need more than just the desire to want to teach and there are a certain set of skills which you will need if you want to become a great teacher.
A characteristic which is absolutely required form teachers is the ability o remain patient at all times. There are one million occasions where your students will test your patience be it through misbehaviour or even through a slow learning process. If you want to become a great teacher, you will need to understand how to leave your frustrations behind and reserve patience to best serve your students.
Over the years as a teacher you will find the style of teaching which suits you and whilst this is important, it is also vital that to become a great teacher, you can change your style depending on the student. Some people learn through visual aids, others need to be inspired, some like to read and others like to listen. You can’t guarantee that your classroom will be full of the same types of learners so you will need to have a style that can be tweaked and changed depending on your student.
A great teacher earns the trust of their students and one of the keys to doing so is being empathetic. Whether it is a student who is struggling with life at home, life at school or who finds difficulty in learning, as a teacher you need to be completely understanding of their issues and their problems and ensure that you are doing everything that you can to help them out.
Somewhat worryingly there are many teachers out there who do not have a complete and comprehensive knowledge of the subjects which they are teaching. A strong understanding is not enough when you are teaching and you should have deep knowledge of your chosen subject. The key is to gain the student’s respect and if they ask something that you do not know the answer to, you can lose this respect in an instant. You should always remain a student when it comes to the course that you teach as this will help you to become a better educator and a more respectful teacher.
Teaching is not easy and nor is becoming a great teacher, if however you possess these attributes then you most certainly ‘can’ become a great teacher one day.