Fundamental to teacher and student success is the teacher's ability to communicate effectively with students, parents and colleagues. Teachers must have good communication skills to help their students achieve academic success. Teachers also need good communication skills to further their careers in education. Without good communication skills, teachers disable the learning process as well as their own career mobility.
During the interview process, teachers who have good communication skills can demonstrate what makes them suited to the job. A candidate who cannot clearly express ideas or relate her professional work and experiences may fail the first test. Teachers seeking employment in school districts and other educational institutions need to communicate effectively throughout the recruitment process.
Above all, teachers must have the ability to communicate their subject-matter expertise to facilitate classroom learning and participation. Students depend on their teachers to provide them with instruction, guidance and feedback throughout the learning process. When a teacher fails to communicate effectively with students, their comprehension level drops, and they eventually lose grasp of the subject matter. As time goes on, students' academic progress may suffer from not receiving the proper support in fundamental subjects.
Many teachers are subject to the conditions of a collective-bargaining agreement, wherein the teachers' union negotiates their wages, benefits and working conditions with the school administration team. Teachers without good communication skills find it difficult to express what they want in terms of a labor contract. The consequences of poor communication throughout the negotiation process can result in misunderstandings and conflict concerning employment issues.
The ability to communicate well is especially important for teachers in their interaction with parents. Teachers who want a student to excel often seek the support of parents to instill good study habits at home. When teachers cannot communicate effectively with parents, they can't explain a student's needs in a way parents understand. Moreover, if a parent recognizes the teacher's inability to communicate effectively, the parent might wonder if that teacher competently leads the class.
Teachers with poor communication skills limit their career options. Good communication skills are essential for practically all subjects. However, some academic areas may depend more on the teacher's ability to communicate than others. For example, a teacher whose communication skills need work is probably not the ideal instructor for a public-speaking course.
- Academic Development Institute; The School Community Journal; Communicating With Parents: Strategies for Teachers; Susan Graham-Clay
- "Kappa Delta Pi Record"; What Teachers Should Say and How They Should Say It; Greg Conderman, et al.; Summer 2010
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition: Teachers-Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.