Top Qualities of an Effective Teacher

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The skills needed for effective teaching involve more than just expertise in an academic field. You must be able to interact with people and help them understand a new way of looking at the world. This is not an easy job! Although there are many different ways to teach effectively, good instructors have several qualities in common. They are prepared, set clear and fair expectations, have a positive attitude, are patient with students, and assess their teaching on a regular basis. They are able to adjust their teaching strategies to fit both the students and the material, recognizing that different students learn in different ways. As a teacher, you are a role model who sets the tone for the class. If you are able to show enthusiasm and commitment, your students are more likely to reciprocate. Conversely, when you are negative, unprepared, or impatient, these qualities will be reflected in the attitudes of your students. Undergraduate students at Georgetown have high expectations of their instructors, and they also have many competing interests beyond the course you are teaching. Give them a reason to remember your class as an important part of their college experience!

Keep your students engaged with a positive attitude. Teaching is most effective when students are motivated by the desire to learn, rather than by grades or degree requirements. Many first-time TAs are confused by the new authority of being a teaching assistant, and mistake intimidation for respect. Think of your students as teammates, not adversaries. Learning and teaching are challenging, but that doesn't mean that you can't have fun in the classroom. Stay focused, but don't be afraid to be creative and innovative. Allow yourself to be enthusiastic and find ways to let students see what is interesting about your subject.

You should know the course material. If students are required to attend lectures and read assignments, then it seems reasonable that you would do the same. Most faculty expect graduate TAs to attend lectures, especially if they have never taken or taught the course. Review key concepts and ideas if you are unclear about them, particularly if it has been a while since you have worked with the topics you will be teaching. Think about how the material can be most effectively demonstrated and design a strategy. Write an outline or take notes to follow during a lecture, and prepare your overheads, diagrams, handouts and other aids well in advance. Don't wait until the morning of the class!

Have a plan for what you want to teach. Your job is to illustrate key points and essential context, to help students integrate all of their work (reading, labs, exams, papers, lectures, etc.) for the course. Given that there is never time to teach everything, choose the most important concepts and show how they are related. Explain ideas so students are able to build on material they have already mastered, whether from your course or previous classes. Don't just focus on what you happen to be teaching today. Show students how what they are learning now is connected to material covered later in the course. Keep your long term goals in mind, pace yourself so that you don't run out of time at the end, and try to end every class with a conclusion.

Effective teachers can explain complex ideas in simple ways. As you develop expertise in an academic field, it is easy to forget that students may have no prior knowledge of fundamental concepts that you take for granted. Help students understand and use new terminology, so they can become fluent in the language of your discipline. Many concepts can be more effectively demonstrated with visual aids such as diagrams, drawings, charts, slides, etc. Make sure that they are large enough to see, neat enough to read, and don't stand in the way! Think about the role body language can play. Having your teaching observed by someone else (or even better, having it videotaped) can reveal habits that you would never notice on your own.

Keep your students thinking. Unless they are actively using the concepts you are teaching, most students will remember only a small fraction of what you teach. A lecture is an efficient way to deliver information to large numbers of people, but it is an inefficient way to provide students with lasting knowledge and skills. Consider using at least some classroom time for activities other than traditional lectures, discussions or question and answer sessions. Problem solving exercises in small groups can take no more than a few minutes, yet allow students to engage with the material being covered.

Remember what it is like to learn something for the first time. Give students time to process information and answer questions. Know that it is fine for students to make mistakes if they can learn from them. Realize that learning can be hard work, even for the most motivated students. Rather than blaming students when things don't go right, consider ways you could change your approach to reach them more effectively. Concepts, background information or conclusions that seem obvious to you may not be so clear to someone who is new to the subject. Be patient with yourself, too. Teaching can be difficult and frustrating at times. Give yourself the same opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.

Consider what it would be like to be one of your students. Chances are you would want an instructor who set clear expectations, applied them consistently and could admit when they were wrong. Whether you mark off points on an exam question, give a low grade on a paper, or penalize someone for a late assignment, you should be able to explain why you did it. Of course it helps if you have already outlined clear policies, both for the entire course and for each assignment. Once you have set standards, it is very important to apply them equally and consistently, otherwise you will lose credibility. On the other hand, if you make a mistake or don't know the answer to a question, it is much better to acknowledge rather than ignore it.


Since it is often hard to remember what it is like to encounter your discipline's material at an early stage, peer instruction offers an alternative to the "sage on stage" model. Peer instruction, which usually happens in small group activities or paper response assignments, allows students to get feedback at their own level of discourse and understanding. This provides a helpful complement (not replacement) to instructor feedback. Technology such as the discussion tool in Blackboard helps peer groups stay in contact over long distances and over different periods of time.


CNDLS has several ways of helping you discover the learning styles you tend to favor. Being more aware of your own tendencies will help you recognize similar or different preferences in your students and react accordingly. Besides the more well-known Myers-Briggs test and visual, auditory, and tactile differences, there are also documented differences in how people problem solve. For instance, you might prefer identifying problems, evaluating solutions, or testing solutions. This might affect what assignments you give, what you focus on in a lecture or discussion, and how you weight grades. Visit us to find out more, either in our suite, Car Barn 314, or online at the CNDLS website .


E-mail is an excellent and perfectly acceptable way to give feedback to your students. In fact, several professors ask their students to turn in assignments over e-mail. By having a digital copy of students' work, faculty can make comments using the editing tools in Word, have access to the papers wherever there is an internet connection, and keep up with less paper-work, not to mention having a date and time record of when the student turned in the work.


Top Qualities of an Effective Teacher Teaching as a Process Starting Out Leading Discussions & Laboratory Sections Assignments, Papers, Exams Assessment: Knowing How Students Learn Technology and Teaching Issues and Ethics Pluralism More Resources

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Home — Essay Samples — Education — Teacher — What Makes a Great Teacher


What Makes a Great Teacher

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Published: Sep 12, 2023

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Respect for students, creating a sense of community and belonging, providing a welcoming learning environment, commitment to ongoing learning and professional development, adaptability to diverse learners, challenges in teaching, opportunities for growth.

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write an essay about effective teacher

Teachers' Essay

It’s all about teachers thought, experiences and observations of daily school life.

  • What makes an effective teacher?

Teaching is one of the world’s most challenging occupations. Teachers hold a unique position in our society. Ask yourself whether you have the characteristics of an effective teacher. If you feel that you have the characteristics, consider ways to improve and learn more on how to become an effective teacher.

An effective teacher makes good use of instructional time and inspires students to do well and to know more. Each and every student in the class has to feel comfortable and have the sense of belonging. The classroom has to be conducive to learning and has the proper lighting so that learning easily takes place.

Being an effective teacher has to be able to handle every situation that comes our way. We surely encounter different problems regarding pupil’s attitudes and others. Teacher should be flexible to take control of any situation. Teachers are values-oriented mentor.

Effective teachers tend to have similar characteristics: enthusiastic, creative and positive. You can express these characteristics in different ways, but typically this means that, most time of the day, you truly want to be in classroom and see your pupils learn and excel.

Being organized in the classroom is another key element of an effective teacher. By organizing and planning each day, the teacher surely presented the lesson in effective manner. When the teacher is organizing in the classroom, pupils will observe, imitate and apply it in their daily lives.

As teacher, one must be honest to himself, to the school and to his profession. A teacher must always be truthful in whatever he does or say.

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An aeffective teacher is also compassionate. He is also forgiving and do not hold grudges towards his pupils.

Of course,first and foremost,a teacher has to have a deep knowledge that she can give to her pupils.Moreover patience,empathy,inspiration are also the main factors which a teacher certainly should have.big thanks!

That is true

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Essay on What Makes an Effective Teacher?


Being a teacher clearly entails more than being an instructor and helping pupils fulfill their educational potential. Teaching is a complex and multi-faceted area, one which is constantly evolving and is in a state of continual flux. In this assignment, the attributes which constitute an effective teacher will be disseminated, alongside a critical analysis of my own personal views and teaching ideology (primarily centred on creativity, adaptability and other such variables). The conclusions and points this assignment makes will be discussed with relevance towards my own practice. Recent and empirical literature will be consulted, in addition to a backlog of government reports and other such authoritative educational documents.

Furthermore, a critical appraisal will be evident throughout the course of this assignment, with the point that being an effective teacher may not just depend on one solitary attribute, indeed a plethora of traits need to be exuded in one’s practice for them to be deemed an effective teacher, particularly adaptability which is ever more pertinent in the educational climate that exists in the contemporary era. Although this assignment will adopt a general stance on what constitutes an effective teacher (not distinguishing particularly between educational levels), there will be some discussion (limited by the scope and wordage of this assignment) over the criteria which constitutes an effective teacher varies by the educational level (i.e. primary or secondary school) they are operating at.

The shifting ideals of education over time and their relevance towards being an effective teacher

Prior to discussing to a specific discussion over what makes an effective teacher, it seems apt to consider the issue from an empirical perspective and discern whether attitudes towards what constitutes an effective teacher vary over time or not. Intriguingly, Coe  et al . (2014) noted that, in terms of teaching styles at least (in a study commissioned with the primary objective of discerning the optimum teaching style), little has changed over time, with ‘traditional’ (passive, rote learning and so forth) teaching methods being deemed to have a more tangible effect than new pedagogical methods which have been implemented recently (such as multi-sensory learning and other such initiatives and schemes) (DfE, 2010), indicating that in terms of pedagogical style espoused, little has changed in determining what constitutes an effective teacher. Whilst this point may be valid and relevant, in some aspects it disregards the other aspects of the dynamic and multi-faceted profession of being a teacher (or educator in any capacity), with (ironically), the teaching responsibilities of a practitioner no longer being the only attribute which is demanded of them in their teaching role.

Shuayb and O’Donnell (2008) note the changing attitudes towards education in the last 40 years- with a paradigm shift from focussing solely on the academic attainment of pupils (which is represented by the inauguration of the ’11 plus’ exam and the prevalence of grammar schools) towards educating the child as ‘a whole’ and focussing on a more ‘child centred’ method of education where their personal attributes are recognised in addition to their academic assets and potential. Whilst the aforementioned study may have been restricted towards formative (primary) education of children, the point that there is a more a ‘child-centred’ movement of education is applicable to all levels of the educational hierarchy (i.e. primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary education). Ultimately, this movement is known as ‘holistic’ education (an ideology of education which had been pioneered empirically by notable individuals such as Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessori) and has become commonplace in the educational movements accepted in the contemporary era. Rudge (2008) notes that ‘holistic’ education is an eclectic and dynamic paradigm which requires teachers to continually adapt their skills and account for the changes which have taken place in education, of which there have been an innumerable amount in the last decade (e.g. a move from modular to linear assessments; ICT being replaced with Computer Science; the difficulty of GCSE exams increasing and the amendments in the standards which qualified teachers must meet) (DfE, 2010; DfE, 2013).

The child-centred nature of education (with an increased emphasis on recognising children as individuals and having their emotional needs met by learning) is illustrated by schemes such as Every Child Matters (DfE, 2004), SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) (DfES, 2005) and PLTS (Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills) (QCDA, 2011). Clearly, this illustrates how the child-centred approach (also known as ‘personalised’ learning) has become so prevalent in education today, which contrasts markedly with the academically-orientated curriculum which has been historically in evidence. Subsequently, referring back to the scope of the assignment, what makes an effective teacher has seemingly altered over time- now teachers are required to be much more than educators, being coaches, role models, mentors and in some cases even having to act in ‘loco parentis’ (assuming parental responsibilities in the school environment to compensate for a lack of familial support at home) (Patel, 2003). This implies that becoming an effective teacher in the contemporary era is a more challenging prospect than in the prior decades, primarily because of advances which have been made in this time in terms of understanding and knowledge. Ritzer (2007) defines the increased emphasis on the emotional and spiritual tenets (or purposes) of education as being the ‘informal’ curriculum in lessons which are delivered sub-consciously by the teacher such as how to behave appropriately and correctly and displaying respect and compassion towards others (particularly those of different cultures and faiths). Such needs could be potentially understood by studying Maslow’s (Dye et al., 2005) hierarchy of needs, which categorises the needs which people have according to their importance:

write an essay about effective teacher

Figure 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (2004)

The ultimate goal in this theoretical model is individuals attaining the highest level in the hierarchy of ‘self- actualisation’ (in other words, fulfilling one’s potential), something which is the pinnacle in achievement of human life (Dye et al., 2005). Assuming the ‘deficiency’ needs (safety, physiological and love/belonging) are met at home or elsewhere for pupils, teachers could be responsible for propelling pupils to access the upper levels of the hierarchy, which seems to embody the holistic ethos of education referenced in the discussion above. The propensity and likelihood of teachers to achieve this may be affected by how influential they are. Riggio (2010) argues that the functions of teachers and leaders have a significant cross-over, with both being  transformational  (being capable of inspiring change amongst other individuals). Arguably, this may be easier for teachers rather than leaders to achieve as they are dealing with impressionable young minds, rather than adults who may have pre-conceived thoughts, behaviours and ideals. However, Maslow (Dye et al., 2005) also enunciates that only a minority (2%) of individuals are capable of attaining this landmark state of being, which perhaps devalues the impact that teachers can have, although displaying and possessing leadership qualities is clearly an integral component of being an effective teacher.

Clearly, being an effective teacher certainly entails both an awareness of the ‘informal’ (hidden) curriculum and an ability to demonstrate it in practice. This could be potentially attained by adhering to Bandura’s (1977) theoretical stipulations in that young children (i.e. pupils) are often influenced by the behaviours and attitudes of their caregivers or those adults who play a significant role in their lives. Bandura termed this phenomenon as ‘modelling’, which could be useful in assisting teachers in modelling the correct behaviours they wish to observe in pupils and enabling them to become effective teachers.

Upon the premise of this discussion above, the conjecture could be made that effective teachers need to be well-versed in the theoretical concepts surrounding education and how they can be applied in practice.

This assignment will now focus on the individual characteristics and dimensions of what makes an effective teacher, before reaching an eventual definitive conclusion over the attributes which an effective teacher possesses.

ICT and being technologically literate

One additional responsibility which teachers now have in comparison with the past to become an effective teacher is being technologically literate and display the capacity to integrate it effectively into their lessons, regardless of what subject they teach or what level they practice at. With the technological advances that have been made in recent years, Prensky (2001) speaks of the development of a group of people called ‘digital natives’ i.e. those who are used to residing with technology and it becoming an integral component of their daily lives (they could not imagine a life where technology was not at the forefront of their lives). This is seemingly accompanied by the assumption that teachers who are currently entering the profession automatically display some level of competency in technology, which seems to be reinforced by the abolishment of the ICT Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) skills test in 2012, in the sense that it seemed impractical to test prospective trainee teachers on a skill they were automatically assumed to possess in the digitally-dominated present era (DfE, 2012). This illustrates that being competent at technology is one attribute of being an effective teacher, even if it may not be the most important one.

Interestingly, ICT has been scrapped (and replaced with a new incarnation, Computer Science), with the requirement being that Teachers integrate ICT into every subject that they teach, in a cross-curricular modality of pedagogy which embraces the assets of technology (DfE, 2015). However, the conjecture could possibly be made that being a effective teacher involves more than simply being aware of how to integrate ICT within lessons. However, it must be conceded that it still takes considerable skill to effectively utilise ICT within a lesson, although it is the Government’s mandatory expectation that teachers do so in the contemporary era (DfE, 2015). Certainly, with the explosion of technology and the inundation of developments of it which have infiltrated the educational sphere, a teacher must be equipped with the sufficient skill to deploy it as a teaching vehicle effectively within a lesson or learning episode. Exemplifying this point in practice, Cogill (2008) notes that even with a seemingly simple piece of equipment such as an Interactive Whiteboard, a teacher must still have sufficient pedagogical assets to exploit its learning potential to the optimum.

In essence, in order to be an effective teacher (at least in the dimension of technology), a practitioner should possess the technical knowledge of using apparatus and the ability to incorporate it appropriately within a lesson.

Different models of pedagogy and accommodating different learning styles

Technology may be important in a teacher’s practice, but evidently being able to implement a cross-curricular style of pedagogy could also be assumed to contribute to being part of an effective teacher. Savage (2010) enunciates that cross-curricular teaching is a particularly good vehicle for pupils to engage in learning which stimulates them, particularly when it is performed in conjunction with their own learning experiences in life. The advantages of this to pupils’ learning experiences could be significant- Gazzaniga (2005) explains the split brain theory that has been in existence for over half a century, which states that individuals are either left brained (displaying a predilection towards logical subjects like Mathematics and Science where there is a definitive right answer) or ‘right’ brained (these types of individuals display a fondness for creative subjects like Art, English and Drama where the emphasis is more on expression, rather than the correct answer). However, if a practitioner were to teach in a cross-curricular manner (integrating more than one subject simultaneously into the lesson) then this may allow pupils to engage in ‘bilateral’ learning, where both sides (or hemispheres as they are known in the study of phrenology) are activated concurrently. An example of such integration within a lesson could be with English and Mathematics, subjects which are on opposing sides of the cognitive spectrum, (although Ofsted (2012) notes the increasing prevalence of worded questions in the mathematics curriculum, an assertion which is also confirmed in the content of GCSE Mathematics curricula (DfE, 2014), but could be linked to induce powerful and memorable learning experiences in the children.

Savage (2010) expounds that this connection can become even more relevant if pupils are taught in a way that is meaningful to them, i.e. connected with their real life experiences (therefore placing learning in a real-life context). Lave and Wenger (1991) term this to be ‘situated’ learning where pupils learn in a way that they can relate to their external experiences of daily life. Again though, it could be argued that a teacher would really have to possess significant assets to be able to do this proficiently, in terms of possessing the subject knowledge to be able to insert different subjects (in addition to their main specialism) within a lesson and also to have the pedagogical knowledge to utilise this appropriately. Indeed, the learning potential of cross-curricular learning could be to some extent negated by the spectrum of learning styles which exist in a classroom, a fact which is noted by empirical literature on a frequent basis.

Gardner (2004) promulgated a framework of multiple intelligence styles:

write an essay about effective teacher

Figure 2- Gardner’s (2004) Framework of Multiple Intelligences

This in itself represents a challenge for a teacher in their quest to become effective due to the array of learning styles which are encompassed within a classroom, with pedagogy again an influential variable in determining the quality of teaching a practitioner espouses. To account for the varying learning styles of pupils within lessons, it could be theorised that a teacher should possess a sound knowledge of different styles in order to attain excellence in their teaching (and be an effective teacher). Mosston and Ashworth (2008) outlined a framework of teaching styles which range from teacher to pupil-centred (in terms of determining the amount of involvement from pupils within a lesson). Although these teaching styles were originally conceptualised for Physical Education (PE), they have since been extrapolated to the remainder of subjects within the curriculum. Yet again though, being aware of such theories is not enough to be able to become an effective teacher, which is a similar point to how subject content knowledge may not be sufficient alone in order to become an effective teacher (with pedagogical knowledge having to be present to act as a complement to it). Weick (1988) notes this process of relating learning and knowledge to practice to be known as ‘enactment’, something which an effective teacher should be able to do proficiently and at will.

In essence, it could be surmised that alongside possessing the triumvirate of sound pedagogical knowledge, an awareness of the teaching strategies at their disposal and the variance of learning styles in their class, a effective teacher must also be  flexible  in their practice, ensuring that they can tailor their teaching strategies to meet the needs of pupils within their class, in an approach which is reminiscent of a  personalised  style of learning, a commodity which is highly prized in contemporary education and deemed to be more effective than its apposite counterpart, an  individualised  learning style (QCDA, 2011).

Reflection and Creativity

Flexibility could potentially be assumed with creativity, which could be another facet in the armoury of skills an effective teacher must possess. Although the assumption could be made that creativity exuded by a practitioner requires spontaneity and an ‘innate’ teaching ability, the opposite seems to be true. Indeed, NCTM (2013) points out that creative teaching tends to require a significant amount of planning, as would any other teaching approach. It seems important to clarify here that creativity should not only be equated with spontaneity, but with logical and sound planning. In order to exploit the benefits of creative teaching (and become an effective teacher), reflection on one’s practice (in any area, such as aptitude in managing behaviour management or honestly appraising their own subject knowledge) may be needed. Schön (1983) is a staunch proponent of the importance of reflection in any profession, although it could be assumed to be particularly pertinent in an occupation such as teaching, which is a dynamic environment which is continually changing (as mentioned in a previous juncture of this assignment). Applying this principle specifically to the teaching domain, Pollard (2008) is also erudite and comprehensive about the importance of reflection in a teacher’s practice, philosophising that it can allow teachers to retrospectively consider their practice and think how they would act if similar events were to arise in the future (such as behaviour management or other aspects of teaching). Clearly the creativity which an effective teacher must display must also be complemented (or tempered, depending on the vantage point which one takes) by a degree of reflection and more than a quorum of planning to substantiate this creativity. Rubio (2009) supplements this discussion, articulating that a teacher must be reflective, innovative and flexible in order to be successful, particularly in response to changing school environments.

Particularly in the challenging nature of the 21 st  century classroom, creativity may be an important asset to possess, in an era where learning is becoming more personalised and matched to pupils’ expectations, rather than conforming to a ‘one size fits all’ model.

In essence, being an effective teacher cannot be classified by a singular set of prescribed attributes. Clearly there is more to being an effective teacher than displaying exemplary subject knowledge, as there are other assets which may be conducive to suitable practice in the field. An awareness of how creativity impacts upon pupils’ learning experiences evidently needs to be possessed for a teacher to be effective. Innovative practice may also be something that a teacher may have to display if they want to demonstrate commendable practice. Subject knowledge is an ideal attribute of becoming an effective teacher, but the argument seems to be evident that this must be accompanied with pedagogical knowledge (which combine to achieve the feted ‘subject expertise’ (Ofsted, 2008) for it to be worthwhile for a teacher’s practice and children’s learning experiences., so that they can tailor their teaching to suit the inevitable spectrum of pupils’ learning styles and myriad of abilities and personalities which are encompassed within a classroom. Another possible requirement for effective teaching is for a practitioner to be reflective in nature, retrospectively considering incidents (which could be behaviour management challenges or other such entities), so that they can be prepared for similar events in the future and amend their practice as they see appropriate (critical self-appraisal is key to success in this dimension of what constitutes an effective teacher).

All of the attributes mentioned here in this conclusion (and at previous junctures of the assignment) all contribute towards my understanding of what an effective teacher is and will inform my future practice. However, the ultimate defining attribute in what constitutes an effective teacher is probably having the capacity to be flexible and tailor their practice to suit each class that they do teach, whilst maintaining a cohesive ‘teacher identity’ throughout, which allows them to teach pupils competently, ensuring they optimise their learning experiences and are also be schooled in the ‘informal’ curriculum (lessons and life skills which are an adjunct to the academic content which is being taught). Another recurrent theme in this assignment is the importance of pedagogy, with a teacher needing knowledge of the science of teaching to deploy the knowledge (theoretical and experiential) which they have ascertained throughout their career and training.

Essentially, the attributes of sound pedagogical knowledge and flexibility, along with exuding a creative approach in my teaching, are the dimensions which I believe to constitute being an effective teacher. These are attributes which comprise of my own teaching philosophy and are qualities which I will aim to exude in my future practice. However, it is worthwhile noting that this conclusion is tentative (although it is made after a full and rigorous discussion) and needs to be validated by further discussion, evidence and testing.

Ultimately, what makes an effective teacher may be different for each individual (subjective to an extent), although it could be argued that there will be a commonality in people’s opinions of the attributes which make an effective teacher of being flexible, being able to interact well with pupils and possessing sound subject and pedagogical knowledge.

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Cogill, J. (2008)  Primary teachers’ interactive whiteboard practice across one year: changes in pedagogy and influencing factors . EdD thesis, King’s College: University of London.

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Department for Education and Skills (2005)  Excellence and Enjoyment: Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning.  London: DfES.

Department for Education (2010)  The Importance of Teaching: The Schools’ White Paper.  London: DfE.

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Gardner, H. (2004)  Changing Minds: The art and science of changing our own and other people’s minds.  New York: Harvard Business School Press.

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Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991)  Situated Learning. Legitimate peripheral participation . Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Mosston, M. and Ashworth, S. (2008)  Teaching physical education . [Online]. Available at:  (Accessed: 01 May 2015).

NCTM (2013)  Teaching and Learning Creatively . [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 27 th  April 2015).

Patel, N. (2003)  A Holistic Approach to Learning and Teaching Interaction: Factors in the development of Critical Learners.  Brunel Business School.

Pollard, A. (2008)  Reflective teaching: evidence-informed professional practice.  London: Continuum.

Prensky, M. (2001) ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’,  On the Horizon,  9 (5), MCB University Press.

Qualifications and Development Authority (2011)  Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills Framework . London: QCDA.

Riggio, E. R. (2010)  Are Teachers Really Leaders in Disguise?  [Online]. Available at:  (Accessed: 27 April 2015).

Ritzer, G. (2007)  Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Sociology.  London: Blackwell.

Rubio, C. M. (2009)  Effective Teachers: Professional and Personal Skills.  [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2015).

Rudge, L. (2008)  Holistic Education: An Analysis of its Pedagogical Application.  PhD Dissertation: The Ohio State University.

Savage, J. (2010)  Cross Curricular Learning and Teaching in the Secondary School.  Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Schön, D. (1983)  The Reflective Practitioner. How professionals think in action . London: Temple Smith.

Shuayb, M. and O’Donnell, S. (2008)  Aims and Values in Primary Education: England and Other Countries.  National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

Shulman, L. S. (1986) ‘Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching.’  Educational Researcher , 15(2): 4- 31.

Weick, K. E. (1988) ‘Enacted sensemaking in crisis situations.’  Journal of Management Studies , 24(4).

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Characteristics of an Effective Teacher Essay

Introduction, reference list.

Following the current technological advancement in technology and modernization, the demand for education has been revealed to rise sharply among the various age groups in contemporary society. On this basis, therefore, the quality of teachers entrusted with the task of teaching the current technologically oriented society should be credited to a big extent. As it has been revealed, many teachers fail to affect many educational programs among the learners as a result of poor training grounds for them thus making them lack various crucial characteristics that teachers should have. This paper presents a critical overview of characteristics that the current teachers should have to be effective in their teaching (Dube & Sibusiso, 1997).

Perhaps, an effective teacher should be able to motivate and encourage his/her learners as well as counsel them in various aspects. As a matter of fact, learners ought to be motivated and encouraged so as to develop morale in the curriculum. More so, an effective teacher should be able to impart subject contents well so that, the learners may be in a position to understand the concepts intended well. In this respect, therefore, teachers ought to prepare for any lesson they have to teach so that, they can deliver the best content to the learners (Highet, 1979).

Certainly, an effective teacher should be able to use pertinent graphics and teaching aids in their teaching process. By so doing, the teacher would be enhancing the understanding of the subject matter more deeply; thus making it retain for long in learners’ minds. It should also be noted that an effective teacher should accept advice from other people which enables him/her to improve in one aspect or another. It is of crucial significance to note that, teachers should uphold a favorable learning environment for his/her learners. By so doing the teacher would be enhancing better and efficient learning among the learners (Highet, 1979).

Further, an effective teacher should be ‘learner centered’ in which all the activities involved in the teaching session should be meant to benefit the learner. In this respect, therefore, the teacher should be able to communicate effectively with his/her learners so as to ensure coherence and harmony throughout his/her teaching session. More specifically, the teacher should develop positive relationships with his/her learners; which would motivate and encourage his/her learners to enhance more learning (Highet, 1979).

It is important to note that, an effect should be able to treat his/her learners equally regarding them with a sense of respect. By treating all the learners equally, the teacher would be encouraging the instilling of social norms among his/her learners which would further enhance better classroom learning. Employing practical information among the learners would be necessary for an effective teacher. It is thus important that a classroom teacher should employ practical knowledge among his/her learners which would further prepare them for their future careers. Generalized, a classroom teacher should be well organized and capable of maintaining and instilling discipline among his/her learners (Dube & Sibusiso, 1997).

As it has been revealed, classroom teachers should acquire various useful characteristics which would enhance efficiency in their teaching. By acquiring these characteristics, a teacher ensures his efficiency and effectiveness in producing positively oriented graduates into the society to engage in various production activities. It thus leaves no doubt that; teachers ought to incorporate their humanitarianism with professionalism, so as to be effective in their teachings; which would further enhance better learning among the learners.

Dube, M. & Sibusiso M. (1997). Characteristics of an Effective Teacher. In Adult Education and Development Vol. 48(2) pg 13-29.

Highet, G. (1979). The Art of Teaching . London: Methuen & Co. Ltd.

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Essay About Being a Teacher: Top 5 Examples and Prompts

If you are writing an essay about being a teacher, here are some examples to give you inspiration.

Without a doubt, teaching is one of the most important professions one can have. Teachers give children the lessons they must learn to face the future and contribute positively to society. They can be considered the gateway to success stories such as Oprah Winfrey , Adele , and John Legend , all of whom have cited their teachers as major inspirations to their careers. 

Many educators would say that “teaching is its own reward.” However, it may be difficult to see how this is the case, especially considering the fact that being an educator entails massive amounts of stress and pressure. Teaching has actually been reported to be one of the most underpaid jobs , yet many teachers still love what they do. Why is this?

If you want to write an essay about being a teacher, whether you are one or not, you can get started by reading the 5 examples featured here. 

1. Reflections on being a teacher … by Darren Koh

2. teaching in the pandemic: ‘this is not sustainable’ by natasha singer, 3. why i got rid of my teacher’s desk by matthew r. morris, 4. stress is pushing many teachers out of the profession by daphne gomez, 5. doubt and dreams by katheryn england, top writing prompts on essay about being a teacher, 1. what makes teaching so fulfilling, 2. what can you learn from being a teacher, 3. why do people become teachers, 4. should you become a teacher, 5. how have teachers helped you become who you are today.

“Although strictly speaking, based on the appointments I hold, I really do not have time to do much of it. I say teach, not lecturing. The lecturer steps up to the lectern and declaims her knowledge. She points out the difficulties in the area, she talks about solutions to problems, and she makes suggestions for reform. The focus is on the subject – the students follow. The teacher, however, needs to meet the students where they are in order to bring them to where they have to be. The focus is on the student’s ability.”

Koh writes about how he teaches, the difficulties of teaching, and what it means to be a teacher. He helps his students hone their skills and use them critically. He also discusses the difficulty of connecting with each student and focusing their attention on application rather than mere knowledge. Koh wants students to achieve their full potential; teaching to him is engaging, inspirational, and transparent. He wants readers to know that being a teacher is rewarding yet difficult, and is something he holds close to his heart.

“‘I work until midnight each night trying to lock and load all my links, lessons, etc. I never get ahead,” one anonymous educator wrote. ‘Emails, endless email. Parents blaming me because their kids chose to stay in bed, on phones, on video games instead of doing work.’”

Singer writes about the difficult life of teachers trying to balance in-person and distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of the standard class routine, being a teacher during the pandemic has entailed the burden of handling students who opt for remote learning. They are faced with additional struggles, including connection issues, complaining parents, and being overworked in general- it’s as if they teach twice the number of classes as normal. This is exhausting and may prove detrimental to the American education system, according to the sources Singer cites. 

“What it means to me is that I am checking (or acknowledging) my privilege as a teacher in the space of the classroom and in order to facilitate a more equitable classroom community for my students, erasing one of the pillars of that inequity is a step in the right direction. I am comfortable in my role as the head member in my classroom, and I don’t need a teacher’s desk anymore to signify that.”

Morris, an educator, writes about what teaching means to him, highlighted by his decision to remove his teacher’s desk from his classroom. Being a teacher for him is about leading the discussion or being the “lead learner,” as he puts it, rather than being an instructor. His removal of the teacher’s desk was decided upon based on his desire to help his students feel more equal and at home in class. He believes that being a teacher means being able to foster authentic connections both for and with his students.

“Teachers want to help all students achieve, and the feeling of leaving any student behind is devastating. The pressure that they put on themselves to ensure that they serve all students can also contribute to the stress.”

Gomez writes about the stress that comes with being a teacher, largely due to time constraints, lack of resources, and the number of students they must instruct. As much as they want to help their students, their environment does not allow them to touch the lives of all students equally. They are extremely pressured to uphold certain standards of work, and while they try as hard as they can, they do not always succeed. As a result, many teachers have left the profession altogether. Gomez ends her piece with an invitation for teachers to read about other job opportunities. 

“Then I re-evaluate what I want for myself, and what it is that keeps me working towards my dreams. Through the goals I’ve set for myself, I can maintain focus, move past my self-doubt and succeed. By focusing on my goals, I can make a difference in the world directly around me.”

Taken from a collection of short essays, England’s essay is about why she so desperately wishes to become a teacher. She was previously able to work as a teaching assistant to her former elementary school teacher, and enjoyed imparting new knowledge unto children. Even in moments of self-doubt, she reminds herself to be confident in her dreams and hopes to be able to make a difference in the world with her future profession.

Essay about being a teacher: What makes teaching so fulfilling?

When it comes to teachers, we often hear about either “the joy of teaching” or the immense stress that comes with it. You can explore the gratitude and satisfaction that teachers feel toward their jobs, even with all the struggles they face. Read or watch the news and interviews with teachers themselves.

Research on the skills and qualifications people need to be teachers, as well as any qualities they may need to do their job well. What skills can you get from teaching? What traits can you develop? What lessons can you learn? 

Despite the seemingly endless barrage of stories about the difficulties that teachers face, many people still want to teach. You can explore the reasoning behind their decisions, and perhaps get some personal insight on being a teacher as well. 

Based on what you know, would you recommend teaching as a job? If you aren’t too knowledgeable on this topic, you can use the essay examples provided as guides- they present both the positive and negative aspects of being a teacher. Be sure to support your argument with ample evidence- interviews, anecdotes, statistics, and the like.  

Teachers, whether in a school setting or not, have almost certainly helped make you into the person you are now. You can discuss the impact that your teachers have had on your life, for better or for worse, and the importance of their roles as teachers in forming students for the future.

Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays .

If you’re still stuck, check out our general resource of essay writing topics .

write an essay about effective teacher

Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.

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Classroom Q&A

With larry ferlazzo.

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to [email protected]. Read more from this blog.

Four Strategies for Effective Writing Instruction

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(This is the first post in a two-part series.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

What is the single most effective instructional strategy you have used to teach writing?

Teaching and learning good writing can be a challenge to educators and students alike.

The topic is no stranger to this column—you can see many previous related posts at Writing Instruction .

But I don’t think any of us can get too much good instructional advice in this area.

Today, Jenny Vo, Michele Morgan, and Joy Hamm share wisdom gained from their teaching experience.

Before I turn over the column to them, though, I’d like to share my favorite tool(s).

Graphic organizers, including writing frames (which are basically more expansive sentence starters) and writing structures (which function more as guides and less as “fill-in-the-blanks”) are critical elements of my writing instruction.

You can see an example of how I incorporate them in my seven-week story-writing unit and in the adaptations I made in it for concurrent teaching.

You might also be interested in The Best Scaffolded Writing Frames For Students .

Now, to today’s guests:

‘Shared Writing’

Jenny Vo earned her B.A. in English from Rice University and her M.Ed. in educational leadership from Lamar University. She has worked with English-learners during all of her 24 years in education and is currently an ESL ISST in Katy ISD in Katy, Texas. Jenny is the president-elect of TexTESOL IV and works to advocate for all ELs:

The single most effective instructional strategy that I have used to teach writing is shared writing. Shared writing is when the teacher and students write collaboratively. In shared writing, the teacher is the primary holder of the pen, even though the process is a collaborative one. The teacher serves as the scribe, while also questioning and prompting the students.

The students engage in discussions with the teacher and their peers on what should be included in the text. Shared writing can be done with the whole class or as a small-group activity.

There are two reasons why I love using shared writing. One, it is a great opportunity for the teacher to model the structures and functions of different types of writing while also weaving in lessons on spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

It is a perfect activity to do at the beginning of the unit for a new genre. Use shared writing to introduce the students to the purpose of the genre. Model the writing process from beginning to end, taking the students from idea generation to planning to drafting to revising to publishing. As you are writing, make sure you refrain from making errors, as you want your finished product to serve as a high-quality model for the students to refer back to as they write independently.

Another reason why I love using shared writing is that it connects the writing process with oral language. As the students co-construct the writing piece with the teacher, they are orally expressing their ideas and listening to the ideas of their classmates. It gives them the opportunity to practice rehearsing what they are going to say before it is written down on paper. Shared writing gives the teacher many opportunities to encourage their quieter or more reluctant students to engage in the discussion with the types of questions the teacher asks.

Writing well is a skill that is developed over time with much practice. Shared writing allows students to engage in the writing process while observing the construction of a high-quality sample. It is a very effective instructional strategy used to teach writing.


‘Four Square’

Michele Morgan has been writing IEPs and behavior plans to help students be more successful for 17 years. She is a national-board-certified teacher, Utah Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group, and a special education elementary new-teacher specialist with the Granite school district. Follow her @MicheleTMorgan1:

For many students, writing is the most dreaded part of the school day. Writing involves many complex processes that students have to engage in before they produce a product—they must determine what they will write about, they must organize their thoughts into a logical sequence, and they must do the actual writing, whether on a computer or by hand. Still they are not done—they must edit their writing and revise mistakes. With all of that, it’s no wonder that students struggle with writing assignments.

In my years working with elementary special education students, I have found that writing is the most difficult subject to teach. Not only do my students struggle with the writing process, but they often have the added difficulties of not knowing how to spell words and not understanding how to use punctuation correctly. That is why the single most effective strategy I use when teaching writing is the Four Square graphic organizer.

The Four Square instructional strategy was developed in 1999 by Judith S. Gould and Evan Jay Gould. When I first started teaching, a colleague allowed me to borrow the Goulds’ book about using the Four Square method, and I have used it ever since. The Four Square is a graphic organizer that students can make themselves when given a blank sheet of paper. They fold it into four squares and draw a box in the middle of the page. The genius of this instructional strategy is that it can be used by any student, in any grade level, for any writing assignment. These are some of the ways I have used this strategy successfully with my students:

* Writing sentences: Students can write the topic for the sentence in the middle box, and in each square, they can draw pictures of details they want to add to their writing.

* Writing paragraphs: Students write the topic sentence in the middle box. They write a sentence containing a supporting detail in three of the squares and they write a concluding sentence in the last square.

* Writing short essays: Students write what information goes in the topic paragraph in the middle box, then list details to include in supporting paragraphs in the squares.

When I gave students writing assignments, the first thing I had them do was create a Four Square. We did this so often that it became automatic. After filling in the Four Square, they wrote rough drafts by copying their work off of the graphic organizer and into the correct format, either on lined paper or in a Word document. This worked for all of my special education students!

I was able to modify tasks using the Four Square so that all of my students could participate, regardless of their disabilities. Even if they did not know what to write about, they knew how to start the assignment (which is often the hardest part of getting it done!) and they grew to be more confident in their writing abilities.

In addition, when it was time to take the high-stakes state writing tests at the end of the year, this was a strategy my students could use to help them do well on the tests. I was able to give them a sheet of blank paper, and they knew what to do with it. I have used many different curriculum materials and programs to teach writing in the last 16 years, but the Four Square is the one strategy that I have used with every writing assignment, no matter the grade level, because it is so effective.


‘Swift Structures’

Joy Hamm has taught 11 years in a variety of English-language settings, ranging from kindergarten to adult learners. The last few years working with middle and high school Newcomers and completing her M.Ed in TESOL have fostered stronger advocacy in her district and beyond:

A majority of secondary content assessments include open-ended essay questions. Many students falter (not just ELs) because they are unaware of how to quickly organize their thoughts into a cohesive argument. In fact, the WIDA CAN DO Descriptors list level 5 writing proficiency as “organizing details logically and cohesively.” Thus, the most effective cross-curricular secondary writing strategy I use with my intermediate LTELs (long-term English-learners) is what I call “Swift Structures.” This term simply means reading a prompt across any content area and quickly jotting down an outline to organize a strong response.

To implement Swift Structures, begin by displaying a prompt and modeling how to swiftly create a bubble map or outline beginning with a thesis/opinion, then connecting the three main topics, which are each supported by at least three details. Emphasize this is NOT the time for complete sentences, just bulleted words or phrases.

Once the outline is completed, show your ELs how easy it is to plug in transitions, expand the bullets into detailed sentences, and add a brief introduction and conclusion. After modeling and guided practice, set a 5-10 minute timer and have students practice independently. Swift Structures is one of my weekly bell ringers, so students build confidence and skill over time. It is best to start with easy prompts where students have preformed opinions and knowledge in order to focus their attention on the thesis-topics-supporting-details outline, not struggling with the rigor of a content prompt.

Here is one easy prompt example: “Should students be allowed to use their cellphones in class?”

Swift Structure outline:

Thesis - Students should be allowed to use cellphones because (1) higher engagement (2) learning tools/apps (3) gain 21st-century skills

Topic 1. Cellphones create higher engagement in students...

Details A. interactive (Flipgrid, Kahoot)

B. less tempted by distractions

C. teaches responsibility

Topic 2. Furthermore,...access to learning tools...

A. Google Translate description

B. language practice (Duolingo)

C. content tutorials (Kahn Academy)

Topic 3. In addition,...practice 21st-century skills…

Details A. prep for workforce

B. access to information

C. time-management support

This bare-bones outline is like the frame of a house. Get the structure right, and it’s easier to fill in the interior decorating (style, grammar), roof (introduction) and driveway (conclusion). Without the frame, the roof and walls will fall apart, and the reader is left confused by circuitous rubble.

Once LTELs have mastered creating simple Swift Structures in less than 10 minutes, it is time to introduce complex questions similar to prompts found on content assessments or essays. Students need to gain assurance that they can quickly and logically explain and justify their opinions on multiple content essays without freezing under pressure.


Thanks to Jenny, Michele, and Joy for their contributions!

Please feel free to leave a comment with your reactions to the topic or directly to anything that has been said in this post.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at [email protected] . When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

Education Week has published a collection of posts from this blog, along with new material, in an e-book form. It’s titled Classroom Management Q&As: Expert Strategies for Teaching .

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