In the first two parts of this post, I have dealt with the main traits/skills a great teacher candidate should have. Let me continue with a quick checklist of some essential qualities. Mind, most of them can be learnt or improved, so even if you are not the best at any, just keep getting better.
One of the most popular questions in a job interview is what makes a good teacher (and whether you have all these qualities). The most appropriate answers to this question are:
– patience (a teacher must stay calm and explain sometimes the same concept in many other ways to the students, they must deal with students on their worst days, I mean on the worst days of either the student or the teacher, teach with limited resources under hard conditions, in noise, in big classes, etc.)
– preparation (being able to improvise is important, knowing when to leave a lesson plan and come up with a new activity if things are going bad, nevertheless, no teacher can afford not to prepare for a lesson. They must know what they are supposed to teach, how, what materials they need, they need to have all equipments set up, everything ready before the lesson starts; even more important to know what we prepare for: know the exams your school offers to their students and prepare to prepare your students for them)
– flexibility (important in order to survive in a school, where things might change on a short term: be flexible with your availability, with your plans you had for a lesson, with your students, etc.)
– curiosity (to find out about new trends, ideas, technology, etc. and to get to know your students as much as possible in the limited time)
– good organizational skills (so that you know where to find a material you made for a previous lesson, to correct all homework assignments and tests for your classes in time, to find registers and books for the next day, etc.)
– time management (not only to finish lessons on time, but also to finish the syllabus by the end of the course and not much sooner than the last lesson)
– good sense of humour (to laugh and make people laugh, learning a language is sometimes tiring/hard/boring, you need to be able to get your students over difficult moments
– honesty (don’t only use positive language with your students, be clear about their achievements, but also about the things they must do better and why couldn’t they do it better?)
– good knowledge of one’s own limits (if you know yourself, you can control yourself and the situations you might be thrown into and this enables you to manage even larger classes)
– charisma (something no teacher candidate would mention, but if you want to convince people who might be elder than you or if you want to grab the attention of a whole class of annoying teenagers, you must be a charismatic person).
I found another post about the same topic really interesting. If interested, click here.
Final note: There are teachers who were born to teach (my mother kept telling me that I would become a teacher even when I was a little child and wanted to become an astronaut, then a researcher, finally an American hairstylist…), but the real wonder is when somebody becomes a great teacher. Somebody who can learn from the others (students or colleagues), stay open to new ideas, analyze their own mistakes and improve day after day, knows everything (not only language) teachers are supposed to teach to their students.