The 3 Must-Have Traits Of Highly Effective Teachers

The 3 Must-Have Traits Of Highly Effective Teachers

As a teacher, your effectiveness matters more than you may realise.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, effective teachers are the single most essential factor contributing to the achievement of students in School.

A good teacher can make a world of impact on their students, impacting everything from their academic success to their future earnings and even health outcomes.

So what makes an effective teacher? In our experience running teacher training workshops in Singapore, skills are only part of the equation. The other half boils down to three important characteristics: Plan, Patience and Passion.

The 3Ps of Effective Teaching

Teaching goes beyond imparting knowledge — it’s about connecting with your students and opening their minds. Being an effective teacher is no easy feat, but the best teachers share a few key qualities: they plan well, they are patient, and they have passion for what they do.


The first P in our trio of effective teaching skills is Plan – and it’s a critical one. Effective teachers know that planning ahead is key to creating comprehensive, engaging lessons that flow seamlessly. There are many reasons why lesson plans are an essential requirement for teachers. For one, a lesson plan gives you thinking time during the lesson. Particularly, it allows you to reflect on how the lesson is going while in progress and to determine whether small adjustments should be made and how.

In essence, good planning means that all the decisions you might be required to make during a lesson have already been thought through in advance. With a well thought-out lesson plan, you’ll have more time to focus on your students’ progress and learning, instead of worrying about logistics or scrambling to come up with ideas mid-lesson. Additionally, planning also helps relieve your day-to-day stress as a teacher, giving you a sense of control and purpose as you prepare to lead your class.

How to Plan for Effective Teaching:

Begin by considering the learning outcomes, taking into account the needs of your students. From there, you would be able to highlight the key concepts and skills that they would need to master, and the specific activities and necessary materials they need to get there.

Effective planning is a continuous process. Take your students’ feedback and progress into account, and adjust your planning accordingly. By being intentional and reflective, you can improve your practice while better supporting your students’ learning. 


Patience is among the greatest virtues of every educator. If a teacher has no patience, they might be unable to deliver. In a classroom full of diverse backgrounds and learning abilities, patience is essential to ensure that every student gets the support they need to succeed. Some students may be beyond the class level, while others may be slow learners who need further assistance.

It is specifically with the slow learners that a teacher must show composure and patience. People learn in various ways and at varying paces. As a teacher, you should not move on from a lesson if students still struggle with it. Instead, you should be patient enough to help these students until they fully comprehend the lesson. Moreover, you should promote active listening in class to encourage your students to air their concerns. Ultimately, never rush teaching at the expense of your students’ learning—it will only lead to frustration and missed opportunities for growth.

Developing Patience for Effective Teaching:

Practising patience can be a challenge, especially when dealing with difficult students or challenging situations. One of the best things you can do is to take the time to build positive relationships with your students and get to know who they are outside of academia. This fosters a sense of understanding and empathy, and helps you personalise your approach with each student.

In addition, it is important for you to prioritise your own self-care and have some stress-management techniques handy. When teachers are feeling burned out and overwhelmed, it can be easy to lose patience with students. Take time out occasionally to care for yourself, whether it’s practising meditation, engaging in a hobby, or simply taking a break. You can also consider seeking support and guidance from other teachers in reframing your perspective, and helping you approach your work with renewed patience and purpose. 


While this might sound a bit cliché, passion is something that every educator must possess in order to be effective. Multiple studies have shown that passion for teaching is a crucial variable in teacher engagement and commitment. In other words, if you have a passion for teaching, you will likely be more committed and motivated to teach. And when you’re fired up about your work, your students can feel it too.

Indeed, research studies have found that the passion of a teacher has a direct influence on the passion of their students, which then impacts the latter’s achievement and motivation. Teachers who are passionate about teaching usually express enthusiasm and exude a special kind of energy that the students pick up on. Researchers have considered this a contagious kind of positivity that linger even beyond class hours.

Developing Passion for Effective Teaching:

Finding passion can be a challenge for some teachers. One way to discover and cultivate that passion is through the CliftonStrengths assessment. This assessment helps teachers identify their natural talents and strengths, and allows them to focus on channelling what they do best in the classroom. Combined with our teacher training workshop in Singapore and across Asia, it can help educators identify and leverage their strengths, and ultimately become more passionate and effective educators.


Effective teaching goes beyond just imparting knowledge—it requires planning, patience and passion. By prioritising these three qualities, educators can make a world of impact on their students, contributing to their academic and future success. So, whether you are a seasoned educator or just starting out, remember to plan ahead, practise patience, and cultivate your passion for teaching. By doing so, you’ll not only be a better teacher but also a source of inspiration and motivation for your students.

With the use of the CliftonStrengths tool, we carry out extensive and valuable leadership development workshops and workshops for teachers in Singapore and across Asia. Our workshops have helped numerous teachers discover their unique talents and strengths, and channel them into effective classroom learning, enhanced student engagement and better learning outcomes for students. Discover the power of CliftonStrengths in teaching today. Contact us here to learn more about our services.

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