The most important quality of an educator is the knowledge that regardless of everything else, the students must always be their highest priority. If the students are enjoying the lesson, then the educator is doing their job well. In order to achieve this level of engagement, the educator must use their personality and resources to enhance the students’s learning; this can involve using humor and so that is a massively important quality. Students are intrinsically cheeky and so the ability to laugh at themselves whilst still maintaining a sense of authority and control are also hugely vital qualities.
The teachers that we all remember from school, are the ones who used to give the most interesting lessons. The most forgettable lessons are ones which are taught from a textbook or simply involve the teacher talking to the class. An important quality in an educator is the ability to make even the most boring of subjects enjoyable. Today, there is a wealth of resources at the fingertips of any educator: the internet. The ability to utilise these resources effectively and quickly demonstrates being able to engage a class through the use of ICT whilst also being ‘on their wavelength.’ For example, YouTube has a series of animated versions of various stories and these are likely to be far more interesting to a group of students than a stuffier, older version. To understand this and be willing to adapt, is an important quality in an educator.
Adaptability is a key skill in all areas of teaching: if you have planned a lesson and after a short while it is clear that the class are not progressing, the ability to stop and re-think on your feet is a hugely praised skill. As mentioned before, the students must be the top priority and if they are not following a concept then it is important to keep going with it until they do, rather than moving on to the next section of your lesson plan regardless. Also, akin to adaptability, is the idea of understanding your class’ needs: when reading through a plan/scheme of work, it is no use to simply just follow it to the letter. A good educator must read the scheme and then decide which areas would and won’t work with their class; they should then adapt the tasks and introduce new ideas that would best fit with that class. The ability to recognise that a lesson directed at high ability students won’t work with low ability ones, and vice versa, is extremely important.
These days, teachers are not just educators; they are social workers, makeshift parents and friends: they are all things to all people. The ability to conduct yourself professionally, compassionately and thoughtfully is important if you hope to be an excellent educator: subject knowledge alone is simply not enough. The best teachers are funny, friendly, enthusiastic (even when teaching something they personally dislike) and interesting. They adapt to the needs of their students and if the lesson takes a different turn, they go with it and encourage the independence of thought in their students. The best educator is the teacher who respects their students and, in turn, views their respect as something that needs to be earned, and conducts themselves accordingly.