6 Essential Modern Teacher Skills and Why You Need Them

by | Feb 24, 2017

You already know about the skills every student needs and why. What about teachers, though? We wouldn’t be anywhere without them and their expertise. And today, modern teacher skills are a broad area of consideration.

For example, think of the daily tasks that require strict time management. There are things like organizing and scheduling, lesson planning, meeting with parents and students, professional development and much more. It all uses up a teacher’s time. A million things must be juggled every day.

Now add the burden of an exponentially changing world. Technology infuses itself into the lives of our students and rewires their brains. It affects how learning happens, and creates a new kind of student with different expectations for learning.

There’s no roadmap or guide for this. No one has created a fail-safe way to make this happen. The truth is you’ve all had to figure it out as you go along. You’ve done an amazing job, but then, teachers are amazing people.

What has been tossed around a lot is the debate about skills. 21st-century skills, digital teaching skills, new skills, and many other names have been used. Discussion still continues as to what these skills actually are. We want to call them modern skills for modern educators.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by suggestions. Happily, among all these terms are ones that everyone can agree on. These are skills that today’s educator should have and maintain. That’s how they can remain supported and successful in the digital age of learning.

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6 Essential Modern Teacher Skills and Qualities

Exploring these options can be a lot of fun with the right people to support you. That’s what we’re here for. You have allies everywhere. Your colleagues, your administrators—even your students—are there to support you. Be brave, go forward, and learn as you go. It’s what we’re all doing, and you can too.

1. Adaptability

It’s necessary for a teacher to be flexible and adaptable in the modern digital age. Great modern teachers know how to roll with the punches and face challenges fearlessly.

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Why it’s Important: The digital age epitomizes the word “change.” New educational technologies are introduced to us every minute. Every student learns in a different way and a different pace. Administrators are constantly updating and revising guidelines and expectations (they often face the same kinds of issues). There will always be problems and challenges to face. This skill takes time, so be patient with yourself. You can’t do it all in one day.

2. A Desire to Learn

This goes hand-in-hand with being adaptable. Learning is always a lifelong process. Modern teacher skills mean teacher-as-student as much as they mean teacher-as-guide.

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Why it’s Important: There is always something new to learn or think about when you’re a teacher. As the world landscape changes, so does the teaching and learning landscape. Success in a global marketplace depends on one’s ability to be a “just-in-time” learner. Technology also provides personal development and networking avenues that can’t be ignored. A teacher who is always willing to learn will never stop growing and succeeding.

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3. Confidence

Every teacher must have confidence. This applies to both themselves and others. The benefits of having this skill are immeasurable.

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Why it’s Important: Sir Edmund Hillary advised us that “it is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” In facing our vulnerability, we grow strong. In realizing what we don’t know, we learn. In understanding who we are, we see what we can become. It all comes down to having confidence. A teacher must have confidence to teach in the first place, so it isn’t a stretch. It’s more than just classroom teaching, though.

Now and then you’ll make mistakes and you’ll fail. Parents, colleagues, and students might get mad at you sometimes. You’ll have incomplete tasks and miss things. Plans will go awry and emergencies will spring up. What matters is that you remain confident. You do your best and will continue to do so, no matter what.

It’s also about having confidence in others. Believe in your fellow teachers, your support staff, and most of all, your students. A confident person inspires confidence in others. Be that teacher, and influence people for the better.

4. A Knack for Teamwork

Every modern educator needs to be able to work in groups and teams. Networking and solving problems together means success for everyone.

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Why it’s Important: Collaborating with students, colleagues, and admins is the norm for teachers. These situations present themselves every day. No matter if it’s real or virtual, teachers are always working with others. Doing this well fosters support and community in any school or class. It also helps you set an example for students working in groups in your own classrooms. Practicing and teaching this skill is undeniably crucial.

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5. An Empowering Nature

This is a modern teacher skill that’s a gift to others. This is an ability to empower people in different ways.

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Why it’s Important: This skill encompasses many different concepts. It includes an ability to turn negatives into positives. It means having compassion. It’s about inspiring students, colleagues, and parents. It means showing leadership and initiative. It focuses on what’s possible and what’s workable. It’s a forward-thinking attitude with love at the very core. It means the world is a better place for you having been in it.

6. A Global Mindset

Technology has broken down many barriers. It’s as true in schools as anywhere else. The classroom and marketplace are global now. That means a new way of looking at the world and how we learn about it.

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Why it’s Important: This is a skill that focuses on mastering Global Digital Citizenship. Educators must be able to show students how to both “connect and protect” in the digital age. Projects will require collaborating with both real and virtual partners. It’s easier than ever to connect with world cultures and beliefs. Modern educators also know how to use technology safely. They are aware of online dangers and help students understand and manage them.

What modern teacher skills do you support?




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