Teaching, like sports coaching, is a rewarding profession that requires an all-round skill set. It’s about putting yourself in front of a class of pupils and inspiring them to develop and learn every single day.
So, what specific skills do all teachers need? Here’s our guide to ten talents everyone needs in education...
Handwriting: You need to set an example and your handwriting is an important part of that. Writing on the board needs to be clear – whatever age group you teach – and transmit the sort of standard you expect among your pupils. This is especially important in Early Years.
Spelling and grammar: Similarly, you must make sure your spelling and grammar is watertight on displays and when marking – there’s nothing more embarrassing than misplacing a comma on a poster and having it pointed out by a pupil.
Creativity: Teaching is about imparting your knowledge to pupils and that often means coming up with creative ways to capture the imagination. It’s about being able to take a set of teaching resources and use them to good effect in engaging lessons.
Stamina: A school day might end at around 3.30pm but the pace can be pretty relentless, with a constant stream of lessons, activities, disciplinary matters, assemblies and pastoral issues during the day. Then, when the kids go home, the meetings, marking, planning and preparation starts. You have to be ready to work hard. Speaking of which…
Thick skin: No matter how smart your friends and family, they’re bound to spout the same old clichés about you having loads of holidays. You have to be ready to laugh that off. You know it’s wrong and they should too, really.
Knowledgeable: Secondary school teachers clearly need knowledge of their specialist subject but this applies to primary teachers too – with the need to be up to speed with new techniques and guidelines.
Flexible: You have to be able to adapt to the circumstances you find yourself in as a teacher. In the short team that means being able to react if things don’t go to plan in the classroom and in the long term that means changing your planning and teaching to reflect new assessment criteria and
Team player: You might think teaching is a fairly solo activity – you are, after all, the only focus of attention at the front of the room. While it’s true that being in charge of a class gives you some element of control over your working week, it is essential that you work effectively with your colleagues. You’ll probably need to work with a year group partner, team leaders, subject leaders and senior management to deliver the most effective performance.
Communication: It’s vital that you are able to talk in front of a group and are able to explain yourself in a clear and concise way.
Passion: You need to care about your job as a teacher and have a real passion for delivering results and helping the children you teach to get the best from their potential.