10 habits of very successful teachers
A list is based on observation and utter admiration. I have worked with some amazing, passionate teachers and remain in awe of them.
These are the teachers who seem to be exactly what the children need, when they need it. They know their subject, they know what is going on in education, they really know their classes and they know how to have fun inside and outside school. They might not look like the most amazing teachers to a bystander, they might not get the recognition they deserve but kids, parents and colleagues will know who and what they are.
The children, the ultimate arbiters, know the real deal and I have been lucky enough to work with some of these fabulous educators. Based on my observations these ten qualities seem the bare essentials required for excellence and I include them with a few suggestions. There are other elements, of course. This is just what I look for when hiring staff and they are the common qualities I have seen in some of the very best.
1. They start the day with something other than checking and replying to emails. Answering emails doesn’t always make you more productive. Try batch checking emails and your social media only twice a day.
2. They minimize distractions. Most knowledge-workers including teachers lose large parts of every day to constant interruptions. The more we try to do, the less we get done. Students and their teachers are experiencing a shortened attention span as a response to the hyper-kinetic environment in which we live. Reverse this by keeping on task.
3. They work out what are the important problems and deal with them now. They make lists, prioritise and work through the issues. Mark Twain said that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning then the worst is behind you for the rest of the day so nothing else looks quite as bad. Pick your frogs and start with them.
4. They read a lot. They do this no matter how busy get. Read for pleasure and for work and let students know what you are reading.
5. They bring some fun into the classroom and make sure they have fun out of it. We should all do this, shouldn't we?
6. They go beyond the basics of the curriculum. They teach for more than just exams. Students are in the company of people who love their subjects and can't help teaching and sharing it. These students are so much more likely to know more and get better grades.
7. They plan and deliver regular, helpful communication with parents. They do this in a way parents can understand and can use. Parents see such teachers as experts and true professionals. Outside of the classroom parents are our best allies; getting to know them and helping them helps everyone.
8. They are open to new technologies. They don't decide their best days are in the past and new technology is for other teachers. They are always looking forward and finding new ways to teach. Use the technology that works for you and share what you learn.
9. They network. They find others who they can help or who can help them. Look to professional network groups, online groups, conference delegates, bloggers, colleagues and friends.
10. They believe in their students and let them know it.