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There is perhaps no more fulfilling or noble job than being a teacher. The occupation is as important as any in our society, because it shapes the minds of young people and sets them on paths that they will most likely travel their entire lives. For those who choose teaching as an occupation, like Peter Benedict St Andrews School former headmaster and teacher, the job is a rewarding opportunity to make a positive difference in the world.

We all know that teachers are not highly paid for the jobs they do, but they have the highest levels of commitment to their jobs. This in spite of the fact that being a teacher today is very challenging and requires new levels of skill and efforts at being successful. To be a good teacher, there are a lot of skills required. Here are some of the most important.

Compassion

To be a good teacher you must have a genuine concern for the well-being and learning of your students. When you teach you will be put into environments where students have different skills, education levels, speeds at which they learn the material and social issues that define their capacity to learn or may affect their ability to learn. As the teacher, you must work within or around these realities and craft a teaching approach that reaches each student effectively. Good teachers craft lesson plans that have flexibility to accommodate the range of students they will likely encounter and that provide support no matter their profile.

Dedication

Teaching is a job that has long hours and that always ends up going home with you. Teachers typically spend ten to twelve hours each day between classes, school meetings, creating and grading tests, interacting with parents, attending seminars and continuing education courses, and offering extra help to students. In short, the job takes over the teacher’s life and demands consistent focus. The teacher must be well-organized and possess a tireless work-ethic in order to be successful and even then be prepared for the unforeseen circumstance that may require more of a time commitment.

Love of Learning

Teachers must possess a true love of learning and of shaping the minds of young people. This will translate into their dedicating the time to becoming experts at teaching and on the subject matters they teach. Good teachers know they must also be good students too, and they must be diligent about learning the newest teaching techniques and approaches to getting students to progress. They will also update their lesson plans based on new information about the subjects they teach and the profiles of the students they teach to ensure that their teaching is aligned with their student’s capacities to learn. For many this will seem like a lot of extra work that is not covered in the job description, but for good teachers, it falls under the heading of what must be done to achieve their goals of having successful students.

These qualities are a portion of the required ones needed to be a good teacher. The rewards from the job however vastly outweigh any work required.

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