It takes a special person to be a teacher - especially an elementary school teacher.

It's arguably one of the occupations that is the most taken for granted.

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Full disclosure - I explored obtaining an elementary education degree in college. Got so far as student teaching in a 1st-grade classroom. That's about the time I realized I wasn't cut out for the career. However, the experience did allow me to peek behind the curtain to learn the characteristics of the best elementary school teachers.

What Are the Characteristics of a Great Elementary School Teacher?

Identifying a great teacher is rather subjective in nature - it's one of those things that "you know it when you see it".

Cute pupils running down the hall at the elementary school
Photo via Wavebreakmedia

National University boils things down to 14 important traits that great teachers possess:

  • Adaptability - being flexible in their teaching methods
  • Empathy - the ability to put themselves in their students' shoes
  • Patience - not giving in to frustration if/when a student's learning takes a little longer
  • Engagement - enthusiasm about their subject matter
  • Active Listening - don't just listen, but watch body language and learn to "read between the lines"
  • Lifelong Learning - an interest in continued professional development
  • Free of Bias - check any judgments or assumptions about others at the door
  • Respectful Attitude - the teacher isn't the only one who deserves respect; the students do too
  • Creativity - the ability to think outside the box
  • Collaborative - be able to work with others, including students, other teachers, administration and family members
  • Preparation - the ability to think ahead and be ready for anything
  • Promote a Growth Mindset - encourage students that anything truly is possible
  • Meet Students Where They Are - realize that one size doesn't necessarily fit all
  • Cross-Discipline Teaching - a working understanding of a variety of subjects

RELATED: The Top 10 Best Public High Schools in Michigan

The school ratings website Niche has identified the ten Michigan public elementary schools that have the highest rated teachers for 2024. Take a look.

Michigan Elementary Schools With the Highest Rated Teachers

All teachers are not created equal. Here are the 10 public elementary schools in Michigan that have the highest-rated teachers, according to Niche.

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