{December 1, 2008}   What is an effective teacher like?

When applying to a teacher job, administrators take into account every single characteristic an applying teacher has. Not only her resumee and experience are important, but also her personal traits make a point in the application.

We, as teachers, should be aware of how principals look at us to improve our teaching practices for our own good and for our students, too.

Broadly speaking, we can list some attributes a great educator should have (but are not limited to):

* Ability to work patiently with children in the age range they are interested in.
* Ability to be VERY flexible.
* Ability to adhere to state and federal standards.
* Ability to be a diagnostician for reading/math/learning/social deficiencies and to implement a plan of action to correct those deficiencies.
* Ability to be creative in the implementation of a daily schedule.
* Ability to talk with parents, not to them.
* Ability to go the extra mile and do more than you need to do.
* Ability to leave everything at the door, and do your job as an educator when you walk into the building each day.  That said, leave work at work and be you when you walk out the door.
* Ability to follow your leader.
* Ability to communicate effectively with others (students, teachers, administration, parents).

To this short list, we can add some of what Robert E. Glenn – in his article, Admirable Teaching Traits – identifies as characteristics that principals look for in the new teachers they hire:

*Ability to build success into the class
*Ability to create a pleasant atmosphere
*Ability to differentiate instruction
*Ability to establish successful classroom management
*High expectations
*Content knowledge
*Ability to pace instruction.
*Ability to ask effective questions.
*Good attitude
*Ability to teach actively

Personally, I would add another characteristic that EVERYONE should take into account, and that is the ability to deal with discipline. Once that dicipline goes hand in hand with organization, the rest is piece of cake.


You make some good points above.
However, I also think that this can be helpful to you:
Go to:

If you get this book and video: PREVENTING Classroom Discipline Problems, [they are in many libraries, so you don’t have to buy them] email me and I can refer you to the sections of the book and the video [that demonstrates the effective vs. the ineffective teacher] that can help you.

[I also teach an online course on these issues that may be helpful to you at: ]

If you cannot get the book or video, email me and I will try to help.
Best regards,


Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus,
City Univ. of New York

Prof. Seeman

Very good post. I’ve found your site via Bing and I’m really happy about the information you provide in your posts.

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