5 Must-Have Skills for 21st Century Teachers

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  • Recent advances in technology have brought rapid change to many fields, and teaching is most definitely one of them. 21st century teachers have more options than ever to connect with students and facilitate learning, but they’ll need a new set of skills to do it.

    Today’s teachers need to be sensitive to the changing demographics of the classroom — our population is growing increasingly culturally and racially diverse. Teachers must have a strong command of technology so they can teach their students using the latest devices and tools. Modern teachers also must be better educated than at any point in history. Let’s take a look at some of the essential skills you’ll need if you hope to excel as a 21st century teacher.

    Enthusiasm for Technology

    Technology occupies a central place in all of our 21st century lives, and the modern teacher must accommodate the increasing role of technology by cultivating a real passion for it. Today’s teachers can’t afford to lag behind when it comes to adopting the next big technological thing. Whether it’s an e-reader, an iPad, an app or a touch screen desk, teachers have to stay ahead of the curve, ready and willing to implement new innovations and help their students learn how to make the most of them.

    Tolerance and Cultural Sensitivity

    Our classrooms are more diverse than ever. As a teacher in the 21st century, you can expect a classroom full of students from difference races and cultural backgrounds, who all possess varying sensibilities. Some of these students will be learning English as a second language, so different students will have language skills on different levels and it will be your job to provide support for students who need it. You’ll also need to be sensitive to the fact that students will be navigating their first experiences with others of very different backgrounds.

    Reputation Management

    As a teacher and an individual, you’ll want to cultivate a Web presence and take advantage of social media, but you must carefully manage your online reputation.

    Managing your online reputation is about more than avoiding foul language or refraining from sharing photos of yourself at the bar. It’s also about being conscious of what kind of digital footprint you leave. Make sure you’re using the right networks, that you keep your profiles current and accurate and that you delete any profiles you’re no longer using.


    Teachers today need to be more educated than ever. You simply can’t get a teaching position without a college education, and a master’s degree in teaching is necessary in most districts. Luckily, the same advances in technology that have revolutionized the field of teaching have made it easy for teachers to go back to school online to get a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction or another related field.

    Increasingly stringent educational requirements for teachers reflect the increasing importance of education in the modern world. With an advanced degree in teaching, you’ll be well-equipped to prepare your students to become valuable members of society.


    Engaging your students and keeping them interested in the lesson is one of the biggest challenges of teaching, but storytelling gives you a valuable tool to capture and hold students’ attention. It’s one of the oldest teaching techniques because it’s one of the best. For hundreds of years, teachers have used their storytelling skills to convey essential concepts to their students.

    Good storytelling inspires enthusiasm for the lesson and makes your students want to know more. Better yet, storytelling skills can help ideas and concepts from your lessons remain in your students’ minds for the rest of their lives and can make you one of those teachers every student remembers fondly.

    As a teacher in the modern age, you’re going to need to cultivate a passion for new technology and an awareness of other cultures and backgrounds. Teaching is evolving to meet the needs of a changing student demographic, and it’s coming to depend on technological innovations just as much as any other profession. As education becomes more and more important, so too will the role of teachers in our society. With the right education and skills, you can help to shape the minds of future generations.

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