Teaching is one of the most difficult professions. But it’s also one of the most important. Besides parents, teachers are prominent and influential figures in a child’s development. Teachers aren’t simply conduits for lesson plans—they are guides. They help introduce virtues, social conventions, and responsible behaviors. In the case of VIPKID teachers, they help introduce the world to their students. Teachers have a demanding job, but they are indispensable to our society.
However, there is no such thing as a perfect teacher. There are just teachers who are doing their best every day, learning how to be better guides to their students. Excellent teaching is an art that is refined over the years. In that time, many veteran teachers develop and share notable characteristics and habits. We noticed these particular characteristics:
Qualities of Experienced Teachers
When working with students of any age, being patient is a critical strength of veteran teachers. Each student will be a little different from the others and a teacher must be able to recognize their strengths and at what paces students learn.They must observe, listen, and collaborate with students towards success. Patience is a mark of an educator who is committed to students and understands the significance of a level-headed attitude.
Veteran teachers acknowledge that, in order to do their jobs well, they must be self-assured in themselves and their abilities. This is evident not just in how teachers carry themselves as they go through class materials, but also in how teachers are open to change and can admit mistakes. Students need to be able to trust in their educators. Experienced teachers see themselves as open-minded yet decisive leaders in every situation.
Veterans know that adding a little creativity when teaching their lessons will go a long way for their classes. By thinking outside the box and making the material relevant to their audiences, teachers are able to combat the phantom of disinterest that can plague students. Creativity encourages students to be creative as well. Imagination is perhaps the greatest human attribute and veteran teachers take advantage of its opportunity for intellectual stimulation.
Having a funny bone is quite common for veteran teachers. If teachers can find humor in their daily lives and laugh with their students, it can build camaraderie and trust. Humor can also improve the effectiveness of lessons. Experienced educators understand how lightening the mood can aid the mindsets of students as well as their ability to retain information. Yet the obvious core of this quality is that it makes teaching more enjoyable for everyone despite the pressure and expectations associated with education.
Yes, veteran teachers are patient, confident, humorous, and creative. But as these teachers educate and build positive relationships with their students, they maintain their professionalism. They know how to balance their likeability and their respectability in order to be impactful educators. Veterans understand that they are not their students’ friend–they are mentors. And maintaining that role will benefit their students by providing a worthwhile role model.
Aside from developing qualities that shape effective teaching styles, veteran teachers also have in common certain habits. These habits are practiced both inside and outside the classroom.
Daily Habits of Experienced Teachers
Reserve time per day to activities unrelated work
Between teaching lessons, grading, and prep work, as well as satisfying basic needs, veteran teachers find time in their day to do activities unrelated to work. Such activities can range from reading to photography to hiking to painting and so much more. Although it can seem impossible to squeeze into a day, having hobbies is essential to mental and physical wellness. It provides pause. And that pause is especially crucial in the busy, demanding lives of teachers.
Cultivate positivity and gratitude in oneself and students
Veteran teachers also have a daily habit of practicing and instilling a positive and gracious attitude. There are teachers that begin their day or their class with an inspirational quotation. Or there are teachers that have their students update a personal gratitude journal. But the most common way to cultivate positivity is through daily affirmations for their students and for themselves. Veterans don’t expect themselves to always be positive. But when it’s a habit, such a mindset can be grounding.
The most experienced teachers know they can’t allow themselves to be disorganized. They exercise an appropriate amount of personal restraint, hold themselves to firm standards, and plan accordingly. Last minute preparations of lessons and an ill-maintained routine can make for poor performance. While this may sound like a lot of pressure, veterans know that it’s a waste to delay on developing healthy habits. Evidence of being organized includes: keeping a planner, being punctual, having clean and orderly spaces, and holding yourself accountable of your decisions.
While we encourage all teachers to cultivate these strong qualities and practice these useful habits, extraordinary teachers aren’t exactly the same from one another. These qualities and habits manifest a little different with each teacher. We hope that you consider and reflect on what your strengths are and apply it to your lives and in your lessons! You’ll be a better teacher because of it.