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What Makes a Good Teacher?

March 20, 2023

The best teachers share the same qualities as great leaders: clear communication, adaptability, patience, and acting as role models. Perhaps above all, great teachers love learning and are dedicated to classroom strategies that engage and inspire their students.

For educators committed to earning a graduate degree in education, it can seem daunting to serve in such a critical role. However, part of a graduate program in education is honing the skills that make a good teacher and giving educators confidence in their abilities.

The Impact of Highly Trained Teachers

One of the major initiatives of the Department of Education is an investment in creating a strong and diverse pipeline of teachers, including supporting teacher education in high-demand areas. These areas include special education and bilingual education.

Decades of research inform the development of strong teachers. Research published by Science Daily notes several studies finding that teachers “play a pivotal role in their students’ academic success – or lack thereof.”

The impact of good teaching is qualitative and quantitative. Research cited by Edutopia indicates that teachers have a more significant impact on student outcomes than any other aspect of education. A well-trained high school teacher is more likely to have students who move on to attend college. The best teachers can also boost the lifetime income of their class by $250,000.

The Importance of Teacher Preparation

The state of Massachusetts has a tiered system for teachers entering the profession, which requires increasing levels of education and preparation. The Merrimack College master’s degree programs in education align with the rigorous standards of Massachusetts, one of the best states in the nation for teachers.

Teachers in Massachusetts and nationwide face ever-evolving challenges in their classrooms. For example, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), students in the U.S. need a broader range of skills, including higher-order thinking skills and technological expertise. Teachers must learn the necessary skills to instruct students in these critical areas.

Furthermore, the teaching profession is evolving. Educators use more innovative classroom technology and teach an increasingly diverse student population.

Writing for Indeed, career coach Jamie Birt highlights some qualities that make a good teacher in the modern classroom.

  • Effective goal setting. This includes setting clear goals for individual lessons, students, the classroom as a whole, and themselves.
  • Clear communication. Teachers need strong written and verbal communication skills. They also need strong listening skills combined with an ability to pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues to identify student needs.
  • Act as a role model. Teachers can establish clear standards for academics, conduct, and behavior by modeling these attributes themselves.
  • Adaptable and flexible. Innovations in technology, new standards set by state and federal governments, and changes within the student population all demand teachers remain flexible and adaptable.
  • Preparation. Preparation leads to trust and comfort in a classroom. This includes developing lesson plans designed to meet individual student needs.
  • Promoting a love of learning. The best teachers find ways to make classes engaging for students, instilling a positive feeling about learning in their classroom.

How Merrimack College Prepares Teachers

All Merrimack College online master’s degree programs in education prepare graduates with the skills and knowledge required in modern classrooms.

For example, the online M.Ed. in English as a Second Language program prepares teachers to earn licenses and serve as educators of linguistically and culturally diverse students. The program covers a range of topics critical for ESL teachers.

  • Foundations of language and reading
  • Teaching reading and writing skills to English Language Learners
  • Literature in the culturally and linguistically diverse classroom
  • Current issues and trends in teaching English Language Learners

Merrimack College offers many online teacher education degrees, licensures, and certificate programs. A complete list is available here.