Day to Day

What Skills Do Teachers Need?

Teachers have the power to influence their students for the better, fostering in them not only the desire to learn but also the character traits that will make them valuable members of society. As if the job’s benefits weren’t enough, teachers also get to enjoy generous vacation time, which is certainly a bonus and often needed after all the hard work they have to put in. 

Teachers are in high demand, but it takes more than just classroom experience to make a difference in the lives of your students. With that in mind, here is a list of the most important skills that any elementary or secondary school teacher should possess to help their students more and to ensure they get the most out of their careers. 

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One of the most important skills or perhaps traits a teacher needs is passion. The work is hard, it is challenging, and although it is hugely rewarding, it’s not something that someone who has no passion for teaching and helping young minds grow will be able to succeed in. This is why teaching is not the right job for everyone. 

If you consider the teachers you had during your own time at school, you may even be able to remember the ones who were most passionate. They will have enthused their students, taught well, and been excited to impart their knowledge. Those without much passion would have come across as miserable and as though they just wanted to get the lesson over and done with. That’s not a good way to inspire others, and, as a teacher, that’s exactly what you’ll want to do every day. 


Another important skill a teacher has to have is that of leadership. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to go on to lead a team of adults, perhaps becoming the principal of a school, for example (although if you have ambitions in that area, you should certainly pursue them), but of course, you do need to lead your students. 

An unruly classroom where no one is listening to the teacher is not a good learning environment. Even if it’s just one or two disruptive children, the effect is the same – no one can learn. Being a good leader means you can get through to those children who seem to be problematic and help them find a better way to learn, helping them and helping the rest of your class as well. 

As a teacher, you need to be confident in your knowledge and your abilities. That confidence will shine through, and the children in your class will feel it. This will ensure they listen to you as they will instinctively know you have a lot of information they need to learn. 

Leadership is also about leading by example. You can go into a classroom and show that you’re in charge by being loud and strict, but will that really help anyone, or will that just make the children scared? The best way to do things as a teacher is to lead by example. Show the children how you want them to behave by behaving in that way, and everything will become easier. 


Generally, multitasking is not a good thing. It usually means that you’re not focusing well on one thing because you’re stretched across a number of different tasks, meaning that although you might get them all done, they won’t be done to as high a standard as if you concentrated on them one at a time. 

However, when it comes to being a good teacher, one of the skills you have to have is the ability to multitask. You’ll have to write lesson plans, give those lessons, mark classwork and homework (separately or together), speak to parents, and help out around the school. As well as all of this, you’ll also need to have as much of a personal life as you can, otherwise, without a good work-life balance, you’ll quickly burn out and not be able to teach at all. 

This might all seem like too much for one person to do, but thanks to multitasking, it is possible. Teachers up and down the country – and around the world – will be doing all of this and more on a daily basis. It might be hard when you first start, but being organized and ensuring you factor everything into your own to-do list is a great way to stay on top of things. 

If you are not a good multitasker, you can learn this skill. However, you must also be organized and willing to work hard, so you need to consider all of this before you start the process of becoming a teacher; it takes many years of study, and you must be sure it’s the right thing for you. 


The best teachers are those who talk to their students often and well and can communicate in the most effective ways. This means that teachers must have good communication skills. These include being able to talk and write well, using body language in a professional but friendly way, and listening carefully. You have to be able to explain things in a way that students can understand and that makes sense to them.

You also have to be able to change the way you talk to different students based on their age, culture, skills, and how they learn. It is important to be clear, accurate, and professional with parents, coworkers, and administrators.

As you get to know your students, you’ll also get to know the best ways to communicate with them. For some, this might be telling knock knock jokes for students to get them to open up and enjoy the class. For others, it might be helping them to understand what’s expected of them by using specific sign language. There are dozens of ways you can communicate with your students, and knowing as many as possible – and using them where appropriate – is certainly a skill. So too is knowing which methods won’t work and bypassing them so you don’t take any backward steps. 

Critical Thinking 

Teachers have to solve a wide range of problems, and they often have to do so quickly. They answer hard questions from students right away, settle fights between students, change lesson plans, and deal with problems between colleagues.

To be a good teacher, you need to be able to put together all the information you have at any given time and make quick, good decisions based on your critical thinking skills. There is often no time to sit and think about things for a while before coming up with an answer; you need to be quick, and you need to be right. This is certainly a skill, and it’s not one that’s easy to achieve. It takes a lot of practice and experience for some people to get to this point, although for others, it seems to be something they are born with. In either case, by the time you are a qualified teacher and you have your own class, you must be able to think critically in order to be as effective as possible. 


Unexpected things will happen, and teachers will need to act quickly. Throughout their career, teachers will have to adapt to many different situations. For example, they may be asked to cover for an absent teacher in a subject they don’t know, or they may not have the materials they need for a lesson. Plus, every student is also different, so a teacher needs to be able to change how they teach to help every student.

Teaching will offer up new challenges every day, and if you don’t like change or can’t adapt quickly, this role may not be the right one for you.

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