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Characteristics of a Top Teacher

Characteristics of a Top Teacher


There are many characteristics, techniques, etc. that make for a successful teacher. These may be as varied as the teachers themselves. However, there are certain time-tested attributes, characteristics, and practices which contribute immensely to teacher success. The following list contains items that students have used to describe their best teachers.


1. Enthusiasm

Students can feel the excitement

Students easily detect the teacher’s love for job and subject

2. Preparation

Teacher knows the subject

Teacher plans and prepares lessons daily

3. Punctuality

Always arrives on time

Begins and ends class on time

Expects and encourages students to arrive on time

4. Support and concern for others

Lets students know that he/she cares about their success

Takes time with students

Allows for creativity

Is friendly and courteous

Is supportive and encouraging

Is smiling, caring, and loving

5. Consistency

Does not miss class

Is consistent in attitude and dealings with students

Is always well prepared to teach class

6. Politeness

Treats students with respect

Does not condescend

Avoids embarrassing students in class

7. Firmness and control

Is firm in a kind manner

Avoids tangents in teaching

8. Does not play favorites

9. Provides personal help

Takes time to explain concepts

Gives individual attention

10. Accepts individual differences

11. Employs an effective delivery

Clarifies for understanding

Creates a sense of fun with the learning task

Eliminates bad, irritating, and/or distracting habits

12. Does not make students lose face

Avoids criticizing students

13. Sets high expectations of students

14. Is humble

15. Is fair

16. Uses variety

Uses a variety of learning activities


Allows for spontaneity

17. Has a sense of humor; is relaxed

18. Makes use of engaged time

  • Sets a good pace and provides for a change of pace
  • Avoids engaging students in “busy work”

19. Use of text

  • Is not a slave to the text
  • Uses text as a road map

20. Keeps within 1-2 days of the scheduled course outline

21. Provides field trips and other activities

  • Applies student experiences to classwork

22. Does not always teach from a sitting or leaning position

23. Maintains appropriate interpersonal relationships with students

  • Does not allow students to call him/her by first name
  • Does not try to win a popularity contest
  • Maintains a healthy teacher-student relationship
  • Respects students (remember that sometimes what you think is healthy, fun joking with students may be interpreted by them as disapproval and dislike.)

24. Does not allow just a few students to monopolize or dominate the class

25: Keeps accurate records of:

  • Work completed
  • Attendance
  • Test results
  • Grades
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