5 Traits that Separate Great Teachers from Good Teachers

Guest Post

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cc licensed flickr photo shared by sbeez

We always remember that one amazing teacher, and, if we are lucky, maybe two teachers that made our school experience better and changed us as people. They remain in our mind over the years because for one reason or another, they shaped our young lives for the better and stay in our hearts throughout our lives.

A good teacher is not hard to find — they show up, do the job well and teach us – and there is nothing wrong with being a good teacher. But a great teacher goes above and beyond their job title and instill us with values and encourage our hopes and dreams for the future.

Here are some traits that separate a good teacher from a great one:

1. They Genuinely Love Their Jobs

Great teachers love what they do — and that is to teach. They aren’t in it for the fame, the glamour or the money, but for the simple joy it brings them to contribute to young lives and the futures of children. They have a passion for teaching, and this shows in what they do every day. They don’t just show up, regurgitate the curriculum and check out when the bell rings — they go far beyond the normal job requirements to help their students.

2. They are Great Communicators

Teachers take on the responsibility of overcoming the great distance between students and themselves, so good communication is a necessity in a great teacher. It’s not always easy to relate to kids, but great teachers bridge this gap effortlessly. They make sure to really engage their classroom and get to know all of their students.

3. They are Fair to All Students

Treating every student equally is no simple task, but great teachers somehow manage to pull it off. To practice equality in the classroom creates a warm and friendly environment for all students. While favoritism is natural and human nature, a great teacher shows no student special treatment over another and treats every student, whether they are a model pupil or a difficult one, the same way. This is an admirable trait for anyone, so it goes doubly for teachers and definitely separates the good from the great in the teaching field.

4. Leadership and Confidence

Good teachers teach, but great teachers are lead. In their classroom, they take charge and command the spotlight so their students focus on only them. Great teachers must show their students the right way through the school experience, and assist children by helping them overcome the many hurdles that could get in their way.

A leader can’t lead without confidence. Great teachers exude confidence, and students pick up on this trait. Children will not put their trust in a teacher that doesn’t have confidence, and it always shows to intuitive kids. Great teachers know how to teach and love what they are teaching.

5. Commitment and Understanding

Great teachers are undoubtedly committed to their craft. They go over the typical time requirements of most teachers, and stop what they are working on to aid students when asked. Great teachers have a strong commitment to the lessons they teach, and like their classes, are always striving to learn and become an even better teacher.

Understanding students is not always an easy task, but great teachers seem to do this with ease. They take the time to get to know each individual student — like where they came from, what their interests are, their hopes and dreams — basically finding out who they are on a personal level. Great teachers possess a remarkable quality of somehow knowing which student needs what in their classroom.

Karen Willis is a school district administrator and guest author at http://www.bestmastersineducation.com/, where you can get information about the best schools for getting a masters in education.


  1. This is a great post. My mom is a teacher and I can relate knowing her experiences and the impact.

  2. Great post!

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