Teaching Aptitude: What Makes a Great Teacher

teaching aptitudeA teacher needs to be a great communicator. They need to be comfortable with public speaking in front of any sized group. They need to be a leader, but not overly authoritarian. They must have a strong knowledge of particular subjects. They also must be patient. They need to commit large amounts of time outside of the classroom meeting with students, as well as reading and grading papers. A teacher is never good at just one thing. It is an incredibly demanding but equally rewarding profession that requires a number of different skills, and though many people believe they want to teach not everyone is suited for it.

There are many different ways to teach from teaching in the classroom directly, to teaching online, or even teaching abroad. Because of this, determining a teacher’s aptitude can vary greatly based on the specifics of each teaching job. If you plan on teaching English for academic purposes, just to name one example, be sure to check out Udemy for courses related to your desired teaching profession. This can help ensure that you are fully prepared before you start training for or enter into your first teaching job. Teachers learn by doing, and getting started with Udemy is a great first step.

Aptitude Testing

Many school systems are beginning to utilize aptitude testing as part of the interview process. An aptitude test is designed as a psychologically based series of questions and answers that gives the hiring school a better understanding of how a teacher thinks, or how they will behave in any contextual situation. These tests are not designed to ‘trick’ those who take them, but rather as truly investigative procedures used before hiring someone in such an influential role. Here are some of the basics when considering your own aptitude for teaching.

Communication

Knowing how to communicate with students in a clear way is absolutely necessary for effective teaching. Understanding your own ability to communicate with others, in both spoken and written form, will help you to determine whether or not you have the aptitude for teaching.

Remember that communication is important not only for subjects such as English or drama, but also for STEM subjects such as computer science, mathematics, and science. Teachers must be able to clearly explain the subject they are teaching, regardless of what that subject is.

There are two methods of communication that a teacher may make use of, and it is important to be skilled in both. These methods are lecturing and interaction. With either type of communication, a teacher must be able to make presentations that are accurate and that present even complex concepts in a way that are accessible to the students. This kind of communication is not easy, and requires a lot of planning in advance so that the lecture or classroom interaction is structured towards the student’s education.

One particular thing to pay attention to is how much you enjoy talking. In a lecture-based environment, a teacher will understandably do most of the talking. However, spoon-feeding a subject to students can be detrimental to the overall goals of learning. Even in lectures, a teacher should be focused on posing questions as opposed to making statements. Asking your students the kind of questions you asked yourself when you were learning the subject could increase the student’s ability to learn. If you find that you like an environment that is more focused on collaboration, then interactive teaching might suit your personality more. A classroom environment that designed to promote discussion means that you will speak less and be ready to place a larger role on the students when it comes to learning about the subject at hand.

Public Speaking

For many of the styles or environments of teaching, teachers will need to be comfortable with public speaking, something you can learn more about on Udemy if you have found it to be difficult in the past. Learning to be an effective public speaker is not as easy as it sounds, and for many people it can be a great source of anxiety. Understanding your aptitude for teaching means you’ll have to consider how comfortable you are standing in front of a group and talking.

If you love presenting and love expressing opinions or explaining what you have prepared, then teaching might suit your personality in a wonderful way. Even if you are particularly anxious about public speaking, you can still have a great teaching aptitude. Many find that online teaching is a great way to circumvent this problem. There are many courses taught online and not all of them are live. Some are recorded as videos; others are through created lesson plans. If you love teaching but don’t love the public speaking aspect, you can look into online teaching jobs, something this Udemy course can help you with.

Dealing With Students And Student Problems

No matter what, as a teacher you’re going to have to work with students. It is important to remember that no matter how many students you have in a particular class, none of them are going to learn the same exact way. In some cases, you will have no problems – all your students will comprehend the lesson and everything will run smoothly. In other scenarios, however, there will be times when a student does not understand the problems they are faced with, or you might find that there are behavioral issues in your class that are hindering the learning process. How you choose to deal with your students, their problems, and their behaviors is a sign of your aptitude for teaching.

The key thing to identify is your level of patience. When considering your teaching aptitude, ask yourself: how patient am I? Make sure you answer honestly. Not everyone has the patience necessary to teach, and that is ok. In order to figure out your own level of patience you can consider some more advanced questions when it comes to interacting with students.

If a majority of students in your class are struggling should you not care about the few that understand? Should you increase the speed of teaching so that comprehension increases, keep your teaching slow, or keep your teaching slow with some extra guidance for the brighter pupils?

The best solution in this particular question is the last one. By allowing your teaching methods to be fluid you will be able to address the needs of all your students. It is also the decision that requires the most patience. As a teacher you will need to get through your lesson plans in a set amount of time. By rushing through it you give over to a lack of patience and by slowing down you put too much weight into patience. Finding the right balance is a level of awareness that comes with being truly patient.

Being A Good Leader 

Teachers are the leaders of their classroom, whether online or in the room itself. Being a good leader requires a special type of person – one who is able to hold onto authority but also be accessible, fair, and kind. Part of this comes from patience, but a larger part of being a good leader means being humble. If you are humble, you will not need to flaunt your role as leader of the classroom. An example of the right type of teaching aptitude for leadership can be found in this question:

If a teacher is not able to answer a question, should they say they don’t know and will find out, yell at the student for asking, or say the question is wrong, or be embarrassed that they don’t know?

The answer here is the first one. A good and humble leader knows when to admit they don’t know something. This is a great example for students as well. Teachers lead as much by doing as they do by ‘telling.’ When a student sees a teacher admit they don’t know something, they too will learn how to admit that. If you are capable of such an admission you might have the right aptitude for teaching.

Being In Charge

Sometimes, there are going to be behavioral problems in a class that will need to be addressed. This is part of the balance of being in charge and being open to student behavior. Think about the question below to see how you might handle such a situation.

When a pupil misbehaves in class, should the teacher report them to the principle, report them to their parents, improve their behavior by example, or mobilize other teachers against that student? 

Here, there is only one wrong answer: the last one. Mobilizing others against that student is never the right decision. If you feel inclined to make a student suffer or want to seek revenge for their behavior then, you might not have the right aptitude for teaching. As for the other three options any are appropriate, however they should be utilized differently depending on the behavior or how many times it has happened before. A teacher should always try to improve students’ behavior by improving their own. This is called leading by example. However if the student is a repeat offender then reporting them to the principle or parents might be necessary. Don’t just jump quickly to action, however. Once again, patience and benevolence are the signs of the right aptitude for teaching.

There’s a lot that goes into being an effective teacher. It all starts with understanding you own teaching aptitude. A good teacher is able to address problems, help all their students and manage their classroom efficiently, something that any teacher can learn more about with this Udemy course. If you think you have the right aptitude for teaching, then don’t delay. Check out the other courses Udemy has to offer and get started with a fulfilling career in teaching!