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15 Steps to Become a Great Teacher

 Are you thinking about becoming a teacher?

 The teachers I admire most are those who remain intellectually curious and professionally vital both inside and outside the classroom for decades. It’s a profession with great rewards and challenges. South Africa is known with the shortages of qualified teachers will likely continue, resulting in competition among some localities, with schools luring teachers from other provinces and districts with bonuses and higher pay.


We’ve put together 10 Steps to Become a Great Teacher, a guide to help you along the way. You’ll learn about the education system, the degrees and certification necessary to become a teacher, excellent interview tips and more.

Step 1: Learn About the Education System:

An old African proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Likewise, it takes many people to educate each unique student. Some people find their place in the classroom with students, while others work hard to spin the wheels of policy and standards. Some work with local government systems to implement education standards while others work for alternatives to public education.

Education in South Africa is governed by two national departments, namely the Department of Basic Education (DBE), which is responsible for primary and secondary schools, and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which is responsible for tertiary education and vocational training. Before 2009, these two departments were represented in a single Department of Education. 


Step 2: Decide if Teaching is Right for You

Being a teacher isn’t for everyone. Teaching does not come with a high salary, though it can happen with high rewards. Many skills are required to become successful in a classroom. If you are selecting education as your first or second career, several qualities are helpful to possess. Ask yourself the following 6 questions.
  1. Do you like people?
  2. Can you be calm in any situation?
  3. Are you fair?
  4. Can you see situations from different views?
  5. Are you confident about sharing your knowledge?
  6. Can you manage time efficiently and with flexibility?

Step 3. Successful teachers hold high expectations:

The most effective teachers expect great accomplishments from their students, and they don't accept anything less. An outstanding education is all about risk-taking and about making a mess; learning is chaotic, right?" Michael Goodwin, English teacher at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School in Concord, MA and founder of the experimental interdisciplinary high school program--Rivers and Revolutions In education, expectations form a self-fulfilling prophecy. When teachers believe each and every student can soar beyond any imagined limits, the children will sense that confidence and work with the teacher to make it happen.

Step 4. Bring your passions into the classroom: 

I try to embody how learning to read and write well serves a purpose beyond the academic. These are critical skills that have the power to open up new worlds of opportunities.  The best teachers think outside the box, outside the classroom, and outside the norm. They leap outside of the classroom walls and take their students with them! As much as possible, top teachers try to make classroom experiences exciting and memorable for the students. They seek ways to give their students a real-world application for knowledge, taking learning to the next action-packed level. Think tactile, unexpected, movement-oriented, and a little bit crazy... then you'll be on the right track.

Step 5. Successful teachers have a sense of humour:

Humour and wit make a lasting impression. The best teachers live outside of their own needs and remain sensitive to the needs of others, including students, parents, colleagues, and the community. It reduces stress and frustration and gives people a chance to look at their circumstances from another point of view.

Step 6. Successful teachers emphasise the fun in learning and in life:

The teachers I admire most create lighthearted fun out of serious education. They aren't afraid to be silly because they can snap the students back into attention at will - with just a stern look or a change in tone of voice.

 Step 7. A great teacher is a continuous learner.

They continuously read and apply the newest research in their classroom, never satisfied whether they have taught for one year or twenty and seek out professional development opportunities, research ideas online and subscribe to multiple teaching related newsletters. Great teachers are not afraid to ask other teachers what they are doing in their classrooms. They often take these ideas and experiment with them in their class.  Good teachers find time in their schedule to learn themselves. Not only does it help bolster your knowledge in a particular subject matter, but it also puts you in the position of student. This gives you a perspective on the learning process that you can quickly forget when you’re always in teaching mode.


Step 8. Successful teachers are Consistent: 

Consistency is not to be confused with “stuck.” Consistency means that you do what you say you will do, you don’t change your rules based on your mood, and your students can rely on you when they are in need. Teachers who are stuck in their outdated methods may boast consistency, when in fact it is cleverly-masked stubbornness.


Step 9. A great teacher goes above and beyond:

They volunteer their own time to tutor a struggling student after school or on weekends. They help out in other areas around school when they are needed. A great teacher is the first to help a family of a student in need in any way they can. They advocate for the students when necessary. They look out for each student’s best interest. They do what it takes to ensure that each student is safe, healthy, clothed, and fed.


Step10. A great teacher loves what they do:

They are passionate about their job. They enjoy getting up each morning and going to their classroom. They are excited about the opportunities they have. They like the challenges that each day presents. Great teachers always have a smile on their face. They rarely let their students know when something is bothering them because they worry it will affect them negatively. They are natural educators because they were born to be a teacher.


Step 11. A great teacher educates:

They not only teach students the required curriculum, but they also show them life skills. They are in a constant state of teaching, taking advantage of impromptu opportunities that may captivate and inspire a particular student. They do not rely on mainstream or boxed in approach to educating. They are able to take a variety of styles and mould them into their own unique form to meet the needs of the students that they have at any given time.


Step 12. Successful teachers break out of the box:

It may be a self-made box. “Oh I could never do that,” you say to yourself. Perhaps you promised you’d never become the teacher who would let students grade each other (maybe you had a bad experience as a kid). Sometimes the biggest obstacle to growth is us. Have you built a box around your teaching methods? Good teachers know when it’s time to break out of it.

Step 13. Successful teachers are masters of their subject:

Good teachers need to know their craft. In addition to the methodology of “teaching”, you need to master your subject area. Learn, learn, and never stop learning. Successful educators stay curious.


Step 14.  Successful teachers bring fun into the classroom:


Don’t be too dangerous. Some days, “fun” should be the goal. When students feel and see your humanness, it builds a foundation of trust and respect. Fun and educational aren’t mutually exclusive either. Using humour can make even the most mundane topic more interesting.


Step 15. A great teacher loves what they do. 

They are passionate about their job enjoy getting up each morning and going to their classroom and also excited about the opportunities they have. They like the challenges that each day presents. Great teachers always have a smile on their face. They rarely let their students know when something is bothering them because they worry it will affect them negatively. They are natural educators because they were born to be a teacher.




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