12 Things Successful Teachers Do

Are you thinking of becoming a teacher? Or are you looking for ways to become more successful in your teaching career? Well, you should note that teaching is not that easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. With patience and hard work, you can become a great teacher.

Luckily, there are countless strategies you can use to increase your success as a teacher and help your students succeed as well. Here are a dozen things successful teachers do.

1. Believe In Your Students’ Potential

A teacher’s success begins with the success of their students. Always have high expectations for your students. Believe in their potential to succeed and make sure you push them to their limits.

Believing in your students is one of the simplest but most powerful teaching methods. It also works when coaching in sports and in the workplace. Kids will do anything for a teacher who believes in them.

Even when they fail, motivate them to try again and to work harder. This strategy helps you to pull them out of their comfort zones. They can pursue success knowing that you are there to pick them up each time they fail.

2. Learn Everything You Can

Being very knowledgeable in your field of study is also a crucial stepping stone towards a successful teaching career. It’s true that even the most successful teachers don’t know everything. But, the more you know, the easier it will be to teach your students and to offer them prompt answers to their questions.

Learning never stops and that’s why, as a teacher, you need to feed your mind with as much information as it can take in. Remember that students always prefer consulting teachers who are known to possess in-depth knowledge about a specific field. Knowledge indicates authenticity.

3. Be Fun and Energetic

Teacher laughing with kids

Did you know that most students are more comfortable sharing their academic problems with humorous and enthusiastic teachers rather than the grumpy and “ever-serious” ones? Yes! The way you carry yourself greatly determines your approachability.

Make a point of smiling each time you converse with your students, crack a joke or two and so on. This helps to ease any tension or fear that the students may be feeling when approaching you for help.

4. Take Risks

They say, “No Risk, No Reward!” Taking risks plays a crucial part in a person’s success. Your students watch and observe all your moves. Therefore, if you take risks by trying new things every once in a while, they’ll also be confident enough do the same.

An environment that allows for expression and some risk-taking pushes students to burst out of their bubbles. You’ll effectively encourage students to explore the unknown, nurturing their risk-taking skills and eventual success.

5. Be Creative and Think Outside The Box

Teacher with ideas

The strategies you use to pass on information to your students need to be creative in a way that captures the attention of your classroom. Strive to make each learning lesson a thrilling one for your students. This not only makes their learning experience fun but also ensures that they are fully engaged during each class and always eager for the next one.

6. Be Consistent and Decisive

To be successful at teaching, you need to be coherent and resolute. If you say something, stick to it! If you say you are going to do something, make sure you see it through! If you set rules, stand firmly by them! Avoid making exceptions or playing favorites.

7. Always Be Up-To-Date

A successful teacher knows how important it is to be abreast with the latest news, educational advancements, technology and so on. Sharing this information with your students helps you to keep them updated too. In turn, this adds value to the learning experience and helps students succeed.

Sharing new knowledge pushes students to research and learn more about things that happen beyond the confines of their classroom. They might also do more outside of school hours, boosting knowledge instead of forgetting (e.g. see summer learning loss).

By incorporating technology into lessons and assignments, you can provide students with more learning resources and support personalized learning. For example, students can use math apps to practice basic math skills, language learning apps to learn a new language, or educational games to learn about certain subjects.

8. Communicate

Communication is a powerful learning tool. Whether it’s with a student or with their parent, dialog helps you to pass critical information and recommendations that may be crucial to the student’s success.

Communication is a make-or-break skill. Communicating well helps you form closer relationships, bring cohesion to teams, and take on leadership roles.


To help students succeed, getting their attention is a basic step. Students who aren’t listening aren’t learning what they need for academic success. Communicating well, especially by reinforcing key points and take-away messages, is the next step. Effective communication helps students to really learn and retain critical information.

Adjust your pace and style and even your body language. Be interesting to help to keep your students captivated and in a learning state.

9. Listen and Show Empathy

Failing an exam does not always mean that the student failed to read for it. Sometimes, it may be due to external factors. That’s why successful teachers always take their time to listen and to advise their students.

Always treat each pupil with sensitivity, as if they’re your own child. That way, they’ll always confide in you in case something is deterring their success in class.

10. Provide Engaging Study Materials

Students using laptops at school in library

To support student success, provide relevant, engaging study materials that reinforce and expand their learning. But avoid overloading them with homework and assignments because it may exhaust their minds, hence slowing learning.

Strategies you can use to provide students with relevant, engaging study materials include:

  1. Use authentic materials: Authentic materials are real-world resources that are related to the subject matter being studied. These can include news articles, videos, podcasts, or other media that students can use to learn about the topic in a more authentic and engaging way.
  2. Curate a library of resources: Teachers can create a digital or physical library of resources that students can access for self-study or reference. This can include textbooks, online articles, videos, and other materials that are relevant to the subject matter being studied.
  3. Use multimedia resources: Incorporating multimedia resources such as videos, podcasts, or interactive games can help make learning more engaging and interactive for students.
  4. Provide personalized materials: By considering the individual needs and interests of your students, you can create personalized learning materials that are tailored to their specific learning goals and preferences.
  5. Encourage students to create their own materials: Students can create their own study materials by summarizing key concepts, creating mind maps, or creating flashcards or other review materials. This can help them better understand and retain the material.

Students may be motivated to learn more about a topic while lacking the direction and resources to do it well. Successful teachers allow students to reach their full learning potential by providing avenues to go beyond the basic curriculum.

11. Be Observant

To be successful at teaching, you need to observe all your students individually, separating their strengths from their weaknesses. This will help you to tailor strategies to help them harness their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.

To set appropriately high expectations, you first need a realistic assessment of where the class and individual students are at. Early testing and questioning is a good way to establish benchmark levels of knowledge and skill development.

12. Set Goals With Your Students

Bloom’s Taxonomy for setting learning objectives. Courtesy of Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.

As mentioned already, a teacher’s success is mostly determined by the success of their students. Therefore, you need to set goals and objectives with your students. After that, work with them towards achieving these goals together as a team.

17 thoughts on “12 Things Successful Teachers Do

  1. Teacher success relies on having a strong set of skills and qualities. You need good subject knowledge and a passion for teaching, but also classroom management skills, communication skills, and a growth mindset.

  2. I’m at the beginner level of my teaching career. The points on this list can only be properly made by someone experienced in the field. Getting to know them at the start is very good to have. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope I will be able to inject these into my teaching.

  3. I am beginning my teaching career this year. Just started officially a few weeks ago and I want to make sure I am a good asset to these children’s futures. I don’t want to let them down. This was an amazing read and really helped me better focus on what matters and have a goal path set for myself.

  4. I believe in my students’ potential and I can go above and beyond to guide and support them develop their knowledge and skills. Building a personal connection with your students individually is a great way to start.

  5. Building a relationship with your students is so vital. Believing in their potential, being empathetic to their needs, and setting achievable goals is something every teacher should constantly do. Educators can absorb new knowledge and integrate it into their classroom, but it will be useless if the students are unwilling to receive it. A passion for both enhancing your craft and caring for your students is the combination needed to be a successful teacher.

  6. Being a good and great teacher requires patience, passion and, above all, understanding your student’s weakness and strength… and working toward achieving the goals of education

  7. This blog reinforced my belief that teaching is a job that requires you to set goals for yourself and your students. You need to build a lesson plan that recognizes your students’ strong points and weak points (as well as your own), but recognizes how both sets of points can lead to growth. This could be the acquisition of new knowledge, new skills, or something unexpected.

  8. I like this list and I recognize things I’ve seen in good teachers around me. Several of these 12 things have to do with a teacher being proactive rather than reactive. Learning everything about your field shows you’re not phoning it in. After all, what subject is so static that nothing changes from the time you studied it in college until teaching?

    1. I liked your point about this article highlighting being proactive rather than reactive. The best teachers I’ve ever had were constantly evolving and experimenting with new ways of teaching. Having two older siblings in education and hoping to go into the teaching profession myself one day, I have seen firsthand how much learning one must do to be an effective educator.

  9. Teaching is all about communicating. I had some excellent teachers who really knew their craft but they lacked personal skills which made them unable to make us fully engage with their class. Being able to communicate with your student, regardless of their age, is key.

    1. I completely agree with you, Mary. A person can be super knowledgable about pedagogy but will never have the ability to be effective with their students if their soft skills are not developed. I have seen so many teachers fall into this, and is definetly something to keep in mind while teaching.

  10. I am a teacher and I have about 25 years of experience in education. Teaching is not a profession, it is a passion.

    1. Sadly, that is not always true. I’m sure you’ve seen some teachers who “phone it in” and do the bare minimum. Thanks to all the teachers who are passionate about their calling.

  11. Teaching is a novel profession. My own mother is a college Professor. According to her it gives a great feel of self satisfaction to a teacher when they see their students achieve in life. Of course being a teacher is not everyone’s cup of tea because it takes a lot of patience and hard work to become a great teacher.

  12. It all starts with believing in your students. You need to see where they can shine and let them know it. You need to push them to be better and tell them how great they can be. Why? Because most of them don’t see it themselves. They don’t think they can ever be great at anything. They lack self confidence.

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