Attributes of a Great Teacher

My first teacher was my grandfather.  I had the privilege of watching him closely as I was growing up. I have never seen any one with such unparalleled dedication. I don’t know whether they know it or not, but good teachers have a lot of influence on their students. In their tenure as a teacher (20-30 years or more) they probably have the potential to  influence 20-50K students directly. According to Teachers without Borders, there nearly 60 million teachers in the world.

Attributes of a great teacher:

  • Dedicated
  • Motivated and Motivating
  • Engaging
  • Some times Entertaining
  • Ability to tell great stories
  • Knowledge of subject matter
  • Challenges students to think
  • Innovates in teaching methods
  • Life-long learner
  • Has Infinite patience
  • Not judgemental
  • Understands student’s difficulties,
  • Understands student’s learning styles
  • Takes pride in students’ achievements

If I love this profession so much, why did I not take up  teaching profession? I ask myself that question a lot of times. I don’t know the answer. I studied engineering and jumped into a job and never looked back. But the most fun part in all my jobs and all my startups was the opportunity to teach.


Mar 3, 2014

I found Good vs. great teachers: how do you wish to be remembered? and it is worth a read. A small fragment from that post (please go and read it to get all the qualitative differences Grant Wiggins talks about):

how does one go from good to great? I think the difference is qualitative – The actions, behavior, and attitudes of great teachers differ considerably from those of good teachers; it’s not just a matter of degree. (That’s why I find almost all the well-known evaluation systems humdrum – they focus on mere goodness instead of being designed backward from greatness.)

Let me propose a set of distinctions – admittedly a bit glib – that may have value for sharpening our sense of what greatness is in teaching:

  • Great teachers are in the talent-finding and talent-development business.
  • Merely good teachers think they are mostly in the business of teaching stuff and helping students so that it gets learned.
  • Great teachers are aiming for the future: are these students better able to succeed on their own after me and without me?
  • Merely good teachers look mostly to the past: did they learn what I taught and did they do what I asked of them?

Sep 21, 2013

I am taking a course on Coursera on Foundations of Teaching for Learning.  In Week 3 of the course, there is a fascinating discussion on What is a good school? What is a good teacher? What is a good student? The thought provoking part was a series of questions starting with “How do you know? Whom do you ask”.  I thought one of the slides on “What is a good teacher” may be very relevant to this topic. If you are interested in teaching and learning, I highly recommend this course from Coursera.


Jul 16, 2013 Seven Characteristics of 21st Century Educators  is a mind map of Seven Characteristics of Innovative Educator

July 16,  2013 Eight characteristics of 21st Century Teachers.

June 2  2012 The folks at Next Wave Multimedia were kind enough to create this presentation based on this post, using ComicsHead, a visualization and presentation tool.

4th Sep 2011 And then, I found this amazing blog post on the Technical Skills Required  of a 21st Century Educator via Teacher’s Learning Journal.

23rd March 2011 AOL Search Teacher’s Attributes


Some times your blog visitors and comments tell you more about the topic you write about. I am always curious about why people read certain entries and where they come from. One way to honor them and say I recognize you is to incorporate their insights and link to them. This is a way to say, I salute you. I am glad you came and made my post a bit richer.  Whenever I have time, I would like to post these under the Updates section of my blog posts.