1. You must love kids. What I’m talking about here goes way beyond “like” because, facing facts, sometimes kids just aren’t very likable. When they are bullying someone, hitting someone, stealing things, telling lies, swearing at you (yes, some students really do these things), you must be able to look past these behaviors and see the potential deep inside every single student. In addition to being able to see it, you have to want to do everything in your power to eliminate the bad behaviors and grow that potential into the awesome thing it is.

2. You must love your subject and student age. I would say that most, if not all, teachers LIKE their subject (if they haven’t been forced to teach something else). But loving your subject means being so enthusiastic about it that you want everyone else to experience what you experience. If you don’t LOVE your subject, you will never survive all the chants: “Why do we have to learn this?” “When are we ever going to use this.” “Is this going to be on the test?” To the successful teacher, these chants are simple challenges to “show me.”

There are some teachers who do actually love their subject, but are not overly fond of the age group taking that subject. I personally know several excellent math teachers who really love Algebra and the challenges it presents, but these teachers do not have the patience that working with freshmen often requires. A successful teacher must love the subject AND work well with its required age group.

3. You must be a good role model. This almost means you have to be a perfect human being. This isn’t, of course, possible, but you have to come as close to perfect as anyone can get. In school, you must be the model of everything you hope your students will become. Outside of school, you never know when a parent or student can see you. Parents really do expect exemplary behavior from you. They don’t want to hear swearing from you or to see you drunk. They don’t want to find a picture on the Internet that doesn’t “show your best side.” Teachers are held to a higher standard–all of the time!

4. You must have great classroom management skills. For many teachers, this is the “make it or break it” skill. There have been many teachers who loved their subject, loved their students, and had exemplary behavior; but they never got a handle on the classroom management issues. Misbehaving classes can destroy a love of teaching faster than just about anything else.

Successful teachers know this and have prepared themselves. It really is a skill that can be learned; and they have studied and taken the courses they need (Jim Fay is one of the best), and they are ready! Bring it on!

When classroom management is no longer an issue, you get the full pleasure of teaching!

5. You must have amazing teaching skills. Successful teaching is a combination of both art (the teacher’s own natural skills) and science (the “how to” that is taught in college). It takes both parts to be successful at teaching. All the teaching classes in the world won’t help if the students can’t sense from you how important their success is to you. Likewise, you can have a natural ability to explain things, but if you don’t know the science of learning, or how to structure a successful class period, you will not survive as a teacher.

The truly successful teacher has students coming to class even if they hate the subject being taught!

By: Mr. Jason T. Pantaleon | Teacher I | Bonifacio Camacho National High School, Abucay, Bataan

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