Top 5 (Plus 14) Character Traits Of Superior Teachers

870608_braeburn_2.jpgAs we come to the conclusion of Reader Appreciation Month, I want to summarize some of the things that we have learned. Today, I’ll focus on some of the character traits of people who were indicated by my readers as their favorite teachers. Some of the character traits were mentioned by multiple people. We’ll call these the Top 5 (Plus 14) Character Traits Of Superior Teachers. If you want to be a great teacher, these are the things you should begin to develop first.

Top 5 Character Traits of Great Teachers

  1. Inspired me and never let me settle for anything less than my best (10)
  2. Compassionate, caring, made me feel important and welcomed, made a personal connection with me (7)
  3. Were demanding, pushed me hard (4)
  4. Had a great sense of humor (3)
  5. Knowledge of the subject matter (3)

Other specifics

  1. Wasn’t afraid of what other people thought (2)
  2. Passion for the subject matter (2)
  3. Challenged me to think beyond just the answer in the textbook (2)
  4. Listened to my ideas
  5. Taught me new things
  6. A terrific fund raiser
  7. Kept things interesting
  8. They were interactive
  9. Added personal elements to the classroom
  10. Organized
  11. Wasn’t fake or shallow with comments to students
  12. Discipline
  13. Confidence
  14. They were problem solvers, rather than simply problem identifiers
About Joel Wagner 504 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting.He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

9 Comments on Top 5 (Plus 14) Character Traits Of Superior Teachers

  1. Nice post, Joel. What surprised me is the first trait. I did this activity with both my lower-secondary school students and my students at the teacher-training faculty, but neither of the groups came with something alike. Reconsidering: none group spoke about the third one either.
    I wonder why is it that the students realize that while being demanding and “trying-to-get-the-best”, we mean no harm?

  2. Heya – just found your blog, and why didn’t I find it sooner? I used to be a teacher at a small local college, and this would have helped tremendously back then. Even now, it’s still a fascinating read, so I just wanted to say thanks.

    Cheers,
    Albert | UrbanMonk.Net
    Modern personal development, entwined with ancient spirituality.

  3. workaholic: Exactly! I was in my last class today and one of the girls said, “You’re mean!” Then she clarified, “I’m just kidding. You’re nice. But you’re strict!” I love hearing that stuff…

    Albert: I hope you enjoy looking around the blog half as much as I enjoy putting it together. It’s great to have you as a new reader here.

  4. Another great trait is to be able to learn also. Teachers can learn a lot if they listen to their students and hear what they have to teach us. They have great ideas. Also if a teacher can be a student, this lets me know that she is interested and is willing to open up to new ideas.

    • Oh, no kidding. I can’t tell you how many times I have learned a lot just by teaching. I had a clinic last week where I had a friend come in and work with my band. We had dinner and talked afterwards. I learned a whole lot from that night. Great stuff!

    • Life Long Learners. Good point! The 5 character traits make a lot of sense.
      On another topic; I’ve been trying to find statistics on teachers and have looked on the Department of Education’s website as well as Michigan’s DoE with no luck.
      Does any teacher out there have an idea where one would find statistics such as number of public education teachers (elementary and secondary), projections as far as employment opportunities for those same teachers and other such stats that would be beneficial to future teachers?

  5. I’ve been trying to find statistics on teachers and have looked on the Department of Education’s website as well as Michigan’s DoE with no luck.
    Does any teacher out there have an idea where one would find statistics such as number of public education teachers (elementary and secondary), projections as far as employment opportunities for those same teachers and other such stats that would be beneficial to future teachers?

  6. Great post! I think a great teacher continually strives to improve these traits and is always on a quest. I like that great teachers are passionate about self-reflection, improving themselves, and continuous learning. I don’t find enough teachers with the desire to be lifelong learners, therefore, their students don’t quite get the message.

  7. As a principal of a Pre-K thru 3 school, I totally agree that a teacher with the following trait, "compassionate, caring, made me feel important and welcomed, and made a personal connection with me."
    Students perform so much better when they feel love and feel that we truly care!

    I am enjoying this blog!

    Have a great week!
    Julie

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