Teaching can be one of the most honorable professions you can undertake -- and if you naturally possess some of the more positive qualities that make for a good teacher -- all the better for your students, their parents and your administration. Being totally dedicated to your work, genuine, supportive of others’ achievements and willing to go the extra mile for your students are honorable and welcomed qualities, which can lead to the most successful and effective teaching roles.
There's nothing worse than a dry, humorless teacher. Sure, you may have a deep understanding of the subject matter you teach and extensive knowledge that goes beyond the textbook, but if you can’t get your students to listen to you, your efforts will be wasted. An engaging, enthusiastic spirit is an honorable quality because it keeps students interested and makes them want to learn more. They will also want to please you with their hard work and good grades if they enjoy your class.
When you’re passionate about your work and really eager to get your students to understand and appreciate the knowledge they’re about to receive, they can tell. They can also just as easily spot a phony, and when that happens, you’re going to lose some students. You may even run the chance of ruining the school year for some kids. If you’re really honorable about your profession, don’t just pass on information, but inspire students to be their best and continue learning for the sake of learning.
It’s one thing to pull your shift and show up for classes, it’s quite another to be willing to stick around after class to answer questions or give individual attention to students who need it. A teacher who cares about her students is available and approachable and goes above and beyond what is required. You don’t rush out at the first bell, but give students extra incentive to do well in class when you show them that you care by being there when they need you.
While you want to be funny when it’s appropriate, fair to all your students and easy to talk to, an honorable teacher does not cave in. Instead, you push your students to do their best. You set goals and objectives, and let the children know your expectations. Don’t give up on those students who don’t seem to get it; instead, you push them even harder and let them know that you have faith in their abilities to master the subject. An honorable, demanding teacher is also one who nudges gently, applauding the effort of her students as much as the results.
Honorable teachers give of their time and many even give from their own wallets by buying supplies for the classroom when district budgets get slashed or are underfunded. Effective teachers also give students the leeway to tap into their own power. Many of the issues teachers face are based on human power struggles, according to the ASCD, formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Giving back some of that power to the students takes a bit of humility, another trait honorable teachers usually possess in spades.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."