Much has been said about the essential qualities a teacher should have in order to be competent. When this has been a discussion point in my classes, most of my students have considered that a good teacher should be skilful, fair, patient and tolerant. Students are aware of the fact that it's not easy to deal with them and that teachers should put up with adolescents´ typical behaviour patterns.
Even when a teacher has personality traits that are significant to foster the ideal teaching-learning environment, experience helps to polish those traits and to be effective in your job. What experience has shown me is that the crucial attributes we should develop as teachers are:
- Sensitivity to be able to detect our students´needs, strengths and weaknesses;
- A discerning mind that would enable us to select the material that would meet our students' needs and likes;
- Creativity that would assist us in our effort to make our classes motivating and encouraging;
- A good listener to allow students voice their feelings, thoughts and opinions;
- An open mind to see issues from different perspectives;
- Empathy to have the capacity to understand students;
- Resourcefulness to introduce changes as the class unfolds.
The class is an active entity and thus, versatility is a required extra skill we, teachers, should develop as many times it's necessary to make on-the-spot changes to our plans according to the circumstances. It's happened to me that I've had to adapt a task that has worked well with one group on noticing it was not appealing to a certain group. Do you have anecdotes in which you've had to be versatile? Feel free to share, please.