Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
13 June, 2024

5 signs your school has great teachers

5 signs your school has great teachers - 5 signs your school has great teachers

Choosing the right school for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make as a parent. Among the many factors to consider, the quality of teachers stands out as perhaps the most critical element of all.


But how can you tell if your child’s school has truly exceptional educators? And if you haven’t yet picked a school, what are some signs to look for when that day comes?


At Nord Anglia Education, we know what makes for great teaching, and our high-quality teachers are one of the many reasons parents choose our schools. So here are five unmistakable signs that your school’s teachers are great, based on insights from our education experts.


1. Your child is happy. And they’re enjoying learning.


Does your child enjoy going to school each day? Do they ever come home excited to talk about what they learned, the fun activities they took part in, or new projects they’re getting stuck into? Enthusiasm can be a strong indicator their teachers are creating welcoming and stimulating learning environments.


Emily Murphy, a teacher who is now a Senior Professional Development Lead at Nord Anglia, explains: “If your kids are happy to go to school, and happily talk about school, it’s a great sign that their teachers are doing an amazing job of creating safe and positive places of learning.”


Signs to look for: Observe how your teachers interact with other students at school events and parent-teacher meetings to see how they’re creating engagement. And pay attention to your child’s attitude towards school – a positive and enthusiastic approach is a great indicator their teachers helping them develop a love for learning.

What does this look like if you’re a parent considering a school? It would be seeing smiling children on your school tour, engaged children in lessons, or even children who come up to you and ask questions, hold doors open for you excitedly, and are actively involved in school life. Ask if the school you’re looking into has any data about how happy children are at the school too.


2. Teachers who are ‘lifelong innovators’


Picture a teacher who not only follows the curriculum, but also experiments with new teaching methods and technology. These teachers aren’t content with the status quo; they’re constantly seeking better ways to inspire and educate students. These educators will also be ones who regularly participate in professional learning so they’re at the cutting edge of teaching.


Niki Meehan, Principal from Prague British International School tells us: “Great teachers understand that best practice comes from constantly engaging in reflective and innovative practice to have a greater impact on student learning. Building forward rather than standing still!”


Signs to look for: Great teachers won’t just give long lectures from a textbook; they’ll use varied methods and tools to make their lessons stick. Be sure to ask about your school’s professional learning programmes and find out how your child’s teachers are actively engaged in bettering themselves as educators.


If you’re a parent only starting the school search, look for signs that demonstrate the school’s professional development focus, or look for teachers who are enrolled in further studies, who are presenting at conferences, or even ask about the school’s philosophy and how they have adapted to changing demands.


3. Helping students go beyond their expectations


Truly great educators know how to tailor their teaching to each student. They work with them to help them exceed even their own expectations and inspire them to go beyond what they once believed possible. It's all about supporting and challenging children to achieve their full potential.


Andy Puttock, Principal at La Côte International School Aubonne, says: “The key is teachers who help their students achieve much more than any prior data would suggest they could. This focus on individual growth is what sets exceptional educators apart. And it’s not just about helping kids make top grades, it’s also about recognising those who have made major strides regardless of where they started.”


Signs to look for: The best teachers will keep you updated on your child's development, academic and otherwise, and share about the personalised strategies they’re using. They’ll ideally use data to plan learning, set targets, and ensure each child is making progress.


And, if you haven’t yet decided on a school, ask about how their alumni or specific stories of how the school has helped children achieve more than they imagined. You might be surprised!




4. Passionate and caring educators


The very best teachers take the time to get to know their students as individuals and in terms of their learning styles, challenges, strengths, and what helps them thrive. It's being aware of not only their academic needs, but also pastoral ones (both social and emotional). Great teachers are those who “get” their students and help them build confidence and resilience too.


Paul Keach, Principal of British International School of Boston adds, “Teachers who truly love teaching and love seeing young people flourish are those that make a lasting impact.”


Kenny Duncan, Principal of Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong, says: “The most effective and inspiring teachers are those who see beyond the curriculum and connect with their students on a personal level. Their passion for teaching is infectious and they engage genuinely in each student’s wellbeing and growth. Children are given a true sense of belonging and feel valued.”

Signs to look for: Observe how teachers at your current or prospective school are interacting with students outside of the classroom. Teachers who are genuinely interested in their students’ extracurricular activities and achievements often bring the same level of care and passion to their teaching.



5. Working in partnership with parents and other teachers



Really great teachers are those that embrace their full school community to make the biggest impact, including with their fellow teachers and—perhaps mostly importantly—with parents like you.


They work closely with other colleagues in school to ensure a continuous learning journey for students, thinking about the bigger picture — all the way from kindergarten to graduation. Also, in regular open and honest conversations, they communicate about your child’s progress and targets, discuss their approaches to learning, and chat about how learning can be helped at home.


Alan Cocker, Principal at British International School Abu Dhabi says: “From my experience, it’s the teachers who are really responsive to feedback – seeking this from colleagues, parents, and students on a very regular basis – who are the ones who truly make a difference.”


Signs to look for: Great teachers communicate well. They keep parents informed, sharing progress, positives, and areas for development. They're a friendly face who you feel confident in. Look for teachers who showcase this by having an awareness of your child’s previous learning, including where they are at now, aspirations, and how they will support them in getting there. For those looking into a school for the future, ask current families or teachers how they work together to achieve more for students.




Great teachers make great schools. By looking out for these signs, parents can be confident that their children are getting an exceptional education.


And if you haven’t yet picked a school for your child, visiting potential schools and observing these qualities firsthand is a must. The right choice can make a world of difference in your child's educational journey and overall development.


To arrange a school visit or to keep up with our other education insights, click here.