10 Traits of a Successful Teacher

10 Traits of a Successful Teacher

Over 1 million ‘Big Five’ personality tests have been taken in the last 30 days to help individuals measure their key personality traits.

To be an effective and successful teacher there’s some traits which are deemed more desirable than others, and we are here to discuss these with you today.

  1. Active Listening

Now, I understand the hypocrisy here..

The majority of students fail to listen to simple instructions and we’re saying that you should be active listeners. It doesn’t make sense.

But, despite the frustration, teachers must listen to their colleagues and students.

And this requires more than just a polite nod every now and then throughout the conversation.

You should be engaged and active, listening to conversations in play and forming a meaningful response to what’s being said.

  1. Adaptability

Remember the transition from white boards to interactive white boards?

The number of teachers who made the mistake of using a marker to write on interactive boards…

It was a slow process for those who had been teaching for 10+ years but they needed to adapt to the new technology.

Adaptability is a must for any teacher.

As well as adapting to new technologies, you  should adapt your own teaching based on what is and isn’t working for your students.

  1. Communication

Communication is key in all professions, but for teachers it’s vital to have good communication skills.

Especially when you speak with 30+ students per day.

Being an effective communicator will help you create a safe and welcoming environment for your students and will help you build strong relationships.

  1. Creativity

For the majority of students learning is not deemed ‘fun’. However, teachers can alter this stigma through their own creativity.

Teachers should be creative and use their imagination to make their lessons engaging and enjoyable.

Instead of teaching straight from a textbook, you should plan interactive lessons that get your students up and thinking.

When a lesson is enjoyable, learning becomes easier for students.

If you’re a teacher, struggling with creativity, check out this 8 Step Guide on becoming a more creative teacher.

  1. Empathy

With this trait we think it’s important to clear up the difference between empathy and sympathy (much confusion can happen around them).

Whilst a sympathetic teacher will acknowledge when a student or colleague is distressed or upset, an empathetic teacher will feel distress or upset in themselves too when a student or colleague is feeling this way.

An empathetic teacher is the preferred kind.

Demonstrating empathy will help you gain a stronger understanding of your students.

  1. Honesty

For every teacher that’s ever had to listen to the excuse of ‘my dog ate my homework’, you know the annoyance that comes with an act of dishonesty.

Well, honest students are just as desirable as honest teachers.

The level of trust and respect between a teacher and student is built on a foundation of honesty.

An honest teacher will admit to their own mistakes and encourage their students to do the same in order for them to grow together as one.

  1. Kindness

We’d say this trait is more naturally proven than learnt.

It can be testing for teachers when a student is talking back or giving them trouble.

But you will not retaliate with harsh or hurtful comments because kindness stands in every successful teacher.

Teachers who demonstrate kindness are remembered. They brighten a student’s day and light the way for those who may struggle to find kindness in their personal lives.

  1. Leadership

A good leader is a great teacher.

If you have ever seen Coach Carter or Freedom Writers you know the capabilities of a teacher who demonstrates leadership.

Teachers help guide students down the path to their own success.

You have the power to influence and inspire hundreds of students across their career span.

  1. Motivation

Any teacher can become Mr. Motivator, but it helps if you’re motivated in yourself first.

A motivated teacher can encourage their students to study and learn to their full potential.

You should push your students to help them achieve their goals.

Whilst the football or basketball team has a parade of cheerleaders, you can take on the role of acting as a solo cheerleader for all your students. And you don’t need the pom poms in doing so.

  1. Patience

No, we’re not talking about the hit song from the British boy band Take That. Although as a teacher it may help to have the song on repeat.

Patience is key in all teachers.

Teaching requires time, and no student learns at the same speed.

Be aware that it could take 10 days or 10 years to see results in your students.

Whether it’s teaching a student to write their name or encouraging them to sign their name on an application for university, your teaching abilities will shine through in good time.

Just practice patience and you’ll feel rewarded.


If you’re contemplating becoming a teacher but don’t know which traits you possess, take the Big Five Personality Test to measure your traits and understand yourself a little better.

And remember, the 10 traits we have discussed today are not the only traits a successful teacher can and will possess. We just didn’t have the space for more!

Please share this blog with your friends or family members if you found it helpful.