Employees have spoken! These are the Best Places to Work in 2022. See the Winners!

Career Development Tips

Teaching Skills: Definition and Examples

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What are teaching skills?Examples of teaching skillsHow to improve teaching skillsTeaching skills in the workplaceHow to highlight teaching skills

Guide Overview

Important teaching skills

Teaching skills are crucial when working as an educator. These skills are what help a teacher keep their classroom engaged and interested in learning. Knowing the most desirable teaching skills, as well as how you can highlight them can help you find a teaching job that you enjoy. It can also be helpful to learn how to highlight your teaching skills in your cover letter and resume, as well as during the interview.

What are teaching skills?

Teaching skills are the hard and soft skills that help a teacher keep students engaged. These skills can also help teachers position themselves as an educator, earning the attention and respect of their students. Some teaching skills come naturally to some, whereas others may require development with practice. Developing teaching skills is only one part of becoming a good teacher. It can also be helpful to learn how to highlight these skills on your resume and during your teaching interview.

Examples of teaching skills

While there are many teaching skills that can be beneficial in the classroom, here are a few top skills to have:

Communication

Communication is important as a teacher, whether you are transferring information to a student, or learning how you can better meet the needs of your students. Teachers will often use both verbal and nonverbal communication skills to understand school policies, as well as to communicate the progress of students to their parents. Teachers may need to read body language to understand students who are struggling or when the classroom is not understanding a lesson.

Learn more: How to Get Your Boss to Actually Listen to You

Project management

Teachers will often work on multiple projects at one time. This might include creating lesson plans, working one-on-one with students, or grading assignments. Additionally, teachers are often required to meet certain goals before the end of the school year. Teachers will need good project management skills to stay organized and timely and to meet these year-end goals.

Learn more: 10 Things to Look for in a Teaching Job

Problem-solving

Problem-solving or conflict resolution skills can also be helpful in the educational environment. Teachers may need to manage conflict between students, other teachers, or even during parent-teacher meetings. Problem-solving skills allow teachers to come up with unique solutions to conflict, identifying ways that meet the needs of everyone involved.

Creativity

Different students learn differently, making creativity an important teaching skill. Some lessons can also be more difficult to teach and creativity can help students maintain interest in the lesson. Teachers who are creative tend to hold the interest of their students longer, allowing them to teach difficult topics and subjects.

Leadership

Leadership skills can also be helpful in the classroom. Teachers will need to lead their classrooms, keeping their students engaged and interested. Leadership skills can help with managing the classroom and highlighting the importance of upcoming due dates or project goals.

Patience

Patience is crucial when working as a teacher. In addition to being a role model to teach patience to students, being patient can help teachers meet their students where they’re at academically. Students will gather information at different paces and being patient can help create an environment of acceptance while also promoting learning.

Technical

In today’s technical times, having some comfort with using computers is important. Many lessons are taught using computers or videos and having the ability to troubleshoot and run these programs is useful. Younger students may also need assistance with running or updating programs and will turn to the teacher for help doing so. Some teachers may also choose to assign work or tests online.

How to improve teaching skills

Good teachers are continually improving upon their skills. You can improve your teaching skills with the following steps:

  1. First, recognize your strengths: It can be helpful to first know your strengths in relation to your teaching skills. You may be able to use these strengths to help with developing areas that you would like to improve.
  2. Second, create a list of teacher skills needed you would like to improve: Now, create a list of skills for teachers that you would like to further develop. These may be skills that you have had less experience with or ones that you find the most difficult to implement in the classroom.
  3. Then, identify specific ways to improve these skills: For each teaching skill listed, consider specific ways you can improve them. For example, if you want to be more organized, you might try to improve your organization in other areas of your life. If you want to be a better leader, then you might volunteer for a leadership position in an after-school group.
  4. Determine how you will measure the development of skills: Good goals are SMART goals, which are goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely. Determine how you will measure the development of each skill, as well as a timeline of how long you can expect to realistically complete each one.

Improving skills takes time and practice. That is why it is so important to continue monitoring your progress toward the development of certain skills.

Teaching skills in the workplace

You can improve your skills in the workplace with the following tips:

  • Use SMART goals: Setting goals that are S.M.A.R.T. can help you track progress toward the development of your skills.
  • Continue working on your skills: Teaching skills can be continually improved. Continue to track your progress toward these goals and find new opportunities to improve as you meet your goals.
  • Practice your teaching skills in your daily life: Certain skills, like organization and patience, can be harder to develop. But, trying to be more organized in your home life, or more patient in your personal relationships can help you develop these skills.
  • Get creative: Finding unique ways to develop your classroom skills can also help with developing your creative skills. For example, you might try mindfulness to improve patience. You might join an art class to find new ways to express creativity in the classroom.
  • Drop-in on other teachers’ classrooms: Sometimes, it can be helpful to monitor how other teachers lead their classes. It can also be helpful to accept and give feedback, allowing you and your coworkers to work in a collaborative way to improve your skills.

Developing your teaching skills may take some creativity. But, in doing so, you can develop the skills that will help you in the classroom, while also improving your creativity skills.

How to highlight teaching skills

Highlighting your teaching skills is an important part of finding a job as a teacher. You will need to highlight your skills on your cover letter and resume to get an interview. Then, you will need to highlight the same skills in your interview to get a teaching job.

Key skills for teachers for resume and cover letter

As you begin your career as a teacher, you will need to highlight your skills on your resume and cover letter. You might include your teaching skills on your resume in the following ways:

  1. First, make a list of your top skills: Get organized by first making a list of your top teaching skills. Go through some of the most common skills and consider which you would consider your top skills.
  2. Then, consider which work experiences highlight these skills the most: You can highlight your top skills by listing your duties in previous positions. For example, if you worked as a teaching assistant as an intern and you were in charge of facilitating a new program, you could list this experience. This demonstrates your skills in leadership and creativity.
  3. Next, evaluate the requirements of the position: You can gather a lot of information from the job description. Most employers will list the skills they are looking for in a candidate. 
  4. Finally, review your cover letter and resume: Review your cover letter and resume before submitting it. It is best to create a new cover letter with each position and to review your resume.

Teaching skills for the job interview

If you were called for an interview, it is time to practice how you will highlight your top skills. You can highlight your skills in the interview with the following steps:

  • First, review your list of top skills: You will be asked about your teaching skills in your teacher interview. Go over your list of skills and consider how you can best demonstrate them.
  • Then, think of a few top teaching experiences: Many of the interview questions asked are likely to be behavioral. These are questions that ask you to describe a situation. Think of a few top teaching situations that highlight your skills ahead of time to help you prepare for these questions.
  • Then, consider what skills you would like to improve: You may also be asked about your greatest weaknesses as a teacher. It can be helpful to consider which skills you would like to develop further. In your answer, be sure to include steps you are taking to improve on them.
  • Finally, practice with a friend: You can improve your confidence by practicing some of the most common teaching interview questions ahead of time. Be sure to include your top skills in your answers.

By highlighting your teacher skills in your resume and interview, you can demonstrate why you are a good fit for the position.

Developing certain teaching skills is important as a teacher. By practicing your interview answers ahead of time and understanding what skills are important as a teacher, you can excel at your interview and land a job you enjoy.

Related Career Guides