4 essential skills every teacher needs


By chantelharris, 23 December, 2016

When you’re looking to hire a new teacher for your school, you need to be careful. You can’t just look for people who are qualified for the position. Simply having a teaching qualification doesn’t necessarily mean they are fit to be a good teacher. And, of course, you only want the best for your school. You want someone who is able to do the best possible job and give the kids the education they deserve.


It’s not easy being a teacher, anyone in the profession will tell you that. It’s not all about those lengthy school holidays and getting to educate the youth on your subject of choice. It takes a lot out of you. And that’s why teachers need to possess certain skills that can’t always be tested when they’re studying. That’s why, when you’re hiring a new teacher, you should look for these four essential skills.


People skills

Quite plainly, teachers have to deal with people the majority of their time. Sure, they also spend many hours marking tests, essays, exams and assignments, but the most important tasks they perform happen in the classroom when they teach. They’re not just passing information on to their students, they need to be able to engage with them as human beings.


Teachers are also important role models and mentors in children’s lives, especially when they’re teaching younger kids or teenagers going through puberty. Their students will often approach them for life advice or simply to talk to an adult they can trust. If a teacher does not have people skills, they will not be able to perform this important function at the school.


Not all teachers have people skills and they can do an okay job. But do you want to hire an “okay” teacher for your school? Or do you want to hire the best possible educator you can so that your students receive a quality classroom experience?


Organisational skills

Teachers deal with a lot at school. While many people think their day ends when the last school bell rings, that is not even close to the truth. In fact, that’s often when the hardest part of their day begins. That’s when they have to work on lesson plans, mark the students’ work and prepare for the next day. Many of them also supervise after school activities or coach sports teams. There is a lot on their plate at all times.  


This means that teachers need to be extremely organised. They can’t show up for class without having prepared anything for the students to learn. If that happens, the students aren’t getting the education they deserve (and their parents are paying for). And if teachers are late on their marking, the students won’t have time to learn from their mistakes before their next test, assignment, essay or exam.


Teachers need to be able to manage their time effectively and stay on top of every task on their to-do list. They can’t make things up as they go along. And if they put off one task and try to catch up, there are going to be six other things they have to do and will end up staying up all night or working the entire weekend.


Communication skills

Teachers need to communicate with their students in order to truly do their job. It’s not only about standing in front of a class and reading off a slide. It’s not about regurgitating the textbook for 45 minutes while the students daydream about what they’re doing after class. Teachers need to be able to communicate the syllabus in a way that holds the students’ attention and keeps them interested during the whole lesson.


Students will likely have questions during class and a good teacher will be able to answer those questions in a simple and clear manner. A person may be incredibly clued up on the subject and even have a PhD but at the end of the day, they have to be able to communicate the topics to a class of children or teenagers.  


Presentation and public speaking skills

One thing people don’t often realise is that teachers also have to be entertainers. They don’t necessarily have to crack jokes all day but they do need to hold their students’ attention for long periods of time. That’s why they should definitely have presentation and public speaking skills. Try hiring people who have taken presentation skills training courses. The presentation skills training course material will have given them the tools they need to engage and present information in an effective manner.