How to Succeed In Teaching

I’m often asked what makes a teacher ‘successful’. And I think this is a hard question to answer. I certainly don’t know it all but I have definitely learned some things along the way. For me, success is NOT a destination, it is a daily thing. It’s the little things we do every day that help us to do brilliantly overall.

Here are ten of my answers to: ‘How To Succeed In Teaching’.

1. Do more than what is required.

Be a teacher who delivers more than what is asked and whose commitment to excellence is shown in the way you teach and behave. Napoleon Hill put it this way: ‘One of the most important principles of success is developing the habit of going the extra mile.’

2. Show initiative.

The definition of initiative: doing things without being asked. Don’t wait to be asked. Use your eyes and take charge. Often teachers are reluctant to act because they are afraid that they might make a mistake. Don’t worry about that! Make a decision and act accordingly, and if you make a mistake, learn from it.

3. Be diligent.

As a classroom teacher, you’re well aware of the many tasks we juggle every day: writing and marking assessments, preparing and delivering lessons, attending meetings, answering emails and responding to phonecalls, communicating with parents… the list goes on. My goal is always due diligence and I define this as ‘doing the best I can with what I have’. Some days I don’t finish everything, some days are more productive than others, but my aim is always due diligence.

4. Choose a positive attitude.

Maintaining a positive attitude at all times is essential. Adopt this attitude at the beginning of each day: I have a lot to offer today and I am going to make it enjoyable for myself and for my students.

5. Be a good example.

Students are more affected by what you do rather than what you say. As a teacher, our behaviours should be in accordance with the expectations we have of our students. Consistency between teaching and example is very essential to your success in teaching. Be a role model for the students you teach.

6. Build healthy relationships.

The relationships we have with other staff members are an important part of our ‘success’ as teachers. There are three important relationships you need to develop: a) Your relationship with your principal and/or manager/team leader. b) Other teaching staff members c) Administration staff (I’ve written about this more extensively here.)

7. Take care of yourself physically and mentally.

Remember to look after yourself and be aware of your physical and mental condition. If possible, have someone you can talk to about your teaching experiences. Let a mentor encourage and support you as you learn and grow as a teacher. Be accountable to someone for your physical health and fitness. The better your physical shape, the more energy you will have, and the more effective you will be each day.

8. Be yourself.

As a teacher, you are sometimes tempted to compare yourself with other teachers and to try to become exactly like them. Be willing to learn from other teachers, but you must remain true to yourself.

9. Be committed to continually learning and growing as a teacher.

Every day as an opportunity to learn and grow as a teacher. Dale Carnegie said, ‘Every person is my superior in some way.’ Adopt this attitude everywhere you teach. Every classroom, every teacher, every student, every teaching situation can add to your skills and experience. Excellent teachers are learning all the time.

10. Enjoy the moments.

Every week I sign off with ‘Enjoy the moments’ – and this really is a key to your success as a teacher. The moments are amazing. The moments make it all worth it. Take time this week to really enjoy the moments.

This week, enjoy the journey.

And more importantly,

Enjoy the moments.



P.S. The WINNERS of my new comprehensive resource, the Winning With Parents Super Pack, will be announced this Thursday. Keep an eye on your Inbox. And there are bonuses for everyone who entered the competition.

QUESTION: What do you think makes a successful teacher? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can leave your comments here.