10 Must-Have Teaching Skills for Educators

One of the great perks of becoming a teacher is the opportunity it affords you to affect the lives of young people in a positive way. In fact, the average school teacher has a chance to provide knowledge, wisdom, self-confidence, and support to over 3,000 students throughout their careers.

Earning a teaching degree from a great school can provide you with much of the knowledge you need to be an effective educator, but knowledge is not all that is required. There are certain teaching skills that are essential for any educator who is looking to make a positive impact on their students.

Essential Skills for Teachers

The following are the 10 most important skills that the best teachers exemplify.

1.    Adaptability

Just about every teacher is going to have to switch grades, subjects, or schools at some point in their career, and to do that effectively, adaptability must be one of your most refined teaching skills.

Even when great changes aren’t thrust upon you, there are always students who require you to rethink your approach in order to effectively reach them. So, developing an ability to acclimate to change swiftly serves you well as a teacher.

2. Empathy

Your career as an educator puts you coming into contact with young people from all sorts of walks of life. At times, your students may be faced with difficult circumstances that can profoundly affect their behavior and their ability to learn.

If you can’t bring a certain level of caring and compassion with you to work every day, you may find it to be exceedingly difficult to connect with your students in a positive way. That’s why empathy is one of the most crucial skills for teachers to have.    

3. Patience

The history of Ancient Rome wasn’t taught in a day. Every individual student is going to have their own learning styles, behavioral quirks, home lives, interests and disinterests, and many other traits that make them a unique challenge to educate. Learning patience makes enriching student lives and expanding their knowledge a far more enjoyable task for both of you.   

4. Leadership

You are in charge of classroom management, and you must display leadership skills in order to do your job effectively. A teacher who has not refined their ability to lead may quickly find that they’ve lost control of the classroom.

Leadership is among the most important skills for effective teachers out there, and it comes in many forms. Find your style and develop it.

5. Teamwork

You may have a fair amount of autonomy within your classroom, but teaching is not always a solo gig.  Whether you’re working with fellow teachers, teacher’s aids, administrators, or your students, your career as an educator often requires collaboration.

Refining your ability to effectively work within the confines of a team is crucial to becoming a great teacher.

6. Communication

Unless you plan to hand out worksheets and show educational films for your entire career, you’re going to need to successfully communicate with your students in order to do your job effectively. This means you’ll need to be able to address an entire classroom, along with individual students and their parents when the need arises.

Prepare to share your ideas and your knowledge with precision and clarity.     

7. Creativity

You may be trying to connect with a hard-to-reach student, finding a way to work within tight budget constraints, developing new lesson plans, or attempting to break the monotony of teaching the same old courses in the same old way, but creativity is going to be vital to your success.

Creativity is among the most important skills of any teacher that wants to find joy and fulfillment in their career. Adding your own flair to the way you conduct your classroom activities not only increases your own engagement, but it also makes your lessons more interesting for your students.   

8. Self-Motivation

As a teacher, the majority of your job is unsupervised and so it can be easy to lose the motivation to continue performing at your best as time goes by. That’s why self-motivation is one of the most important skills for good teachers.

When you can consistently provide yourself with the inspiration to give it your all, you always bring a certain amount of excitement to your classroom. This means that your students never have to suffer from an indifferent educator.

9. Confidence

Effectively communicating your knowledge to a classroom full of students is going to require a bit of self-confidence. Maintaining order in a classroom is going to require even more self-confidence than that!

Over time, students start to tune out or take advantage of a teacher that doesn’t display a certain amount of authority, so be sure to display yours early and often.

10. Enthusiasm

Of all of the teaching skills that can help educators to make a significant impact on the lives of their students, enthusiasm may be the most important. If you can consistently bring energy, excitement, and curiosity into your classroom, you can develop an engaging learning environment, which allows students to have the opportunity to learn and grow.

How to Become a Better Teacher

If you’re an aspiring or current educator and this list sent you into a panic, don’t worry. These skills are not the sort of thing that you either have or you don’t. They can be nurtured, cultivated, and developed through professional development if you’re willing to dedicate yourself to it.

Simply identifying the skill sets you’d like to sharpen can be enough to start you on your path, but there are many other ways for you to hone your teaching abilities, too.

Teacher’s workshops can be incredibly helpful. Seeking out a mentor in your field who has years of knowledge and wisdom to impart can set you on the right path, too. You can also continue your education by pursuing a master’s degree, doctoral degree, or EdS.

This journey not only rewards you with all kinds of new teaching knowledge, but it also connects you with people who know exactly how to refine your teaching skills so that you can become the educator and role model you’ve always wanted to be.