17 main qualities that a successful geography teacher must have are as follows:
(i) Thorough knowledge of the subject
Like the teacher of any other subject a geography teacher should have a thorough knowledge of the subject.
For such knowledge the teacher should read various reference books in addition to the prescribed text books.
Such a study would help the teacher to grasp the spirit of the subject and study it in a proper perspective. A teacher should always remain a student and his reading should not cease after obtaining his degree.
The continuity in study is also essential to keep the knowledge of the subject up-to-date. It is not essential that a secondary school teacher be a specialist of his subject but it is essential that he should be able to prevent the facts of geography in a psychological manner. For such a presentation the teacher should be aware of the fact that social sciences are a developing subject.
(ii) Knowledge of Child Psychology
For being a successful teacher in any subject knowledge of child psychology is essential and so is the case with a geography teacher. The psychological requirements of child differs from age to age and a teacher must have a thorough knowledge of child psychology if he with to impart the knowledge of the subject in a proper manner.
From the knowledge of child psychology teacher can choose a suitable method for teaching the students of a particular age group. Thus the knowledge of child psychology and its proper use can contribute a lot in the teaching of geography.
(iii) Knowledge of different Methods of Teaching
The knowledge of various teaching methods is essential along with the knowledge of psychology, it is only then possible to choose a suitable method according to the requirements of a particular class e.g. a student at the age of 14 is fond of excursions and travels and a good teacher knowing it can coordinate the two in his teaching method to make the teaching successful.
(iv) Keen Power of Observation
A geography teacher should himself be a been observer. Travels and excursion form an integral part of the teaching of geography and only a keen observer can help his students to make collections etc. during such tours and excursions.
In addition to being a keen observer a teacher of geography must also possess a good power of imagination. A combination of two, observation and imagination, makes a more successful teacher.
Life of man is influenced to a large extent by the natural environment and to study it properly the power of observation and imagination are required. We can observe the influence at one place and on the basis of imagination can visualize its effect in other places.
Unless the geography teacher possesses a keen power of observation and strong imagination he will not be able to acquaint his students fully with the effects of various factors and will not be able to present the geography of foreign countries before his students in a vivid and attractive way.
A teacher having these two qualities can present the subject matter in a better way. Thus these two qualities if present in teacher make him a good and successful teacher.
(v) Knowledge of the syllabus and Curriculum of other subjects and their development
A good geography teacher must have knowledge of the curriculum and syllabus of other subjects and should know about their development and teaching requirements. This is essential because geography is an art as also a science and has to be taught both as an art as also a science.
A teacher having knowledge only of science subjects will not be able to do justice to geography teaching and-in the same way a teacher having knowledge of only arts subjects will not be able to do justice to the teaching of geography.
For teaching physical geography he needs the knowledge of science subjects. In higher geography science becomes an integral part of the subject. A teacher with scientific background would find it easier to handle various geographical apparatus such as thermometer, barometer, rain gauge etc.
The knowledge of other subjects is quite helpful to the teacher in correlating geography with other subjects such as history, mathematics, arts etc. Such a correlation helps to make the teaching more interesting and lively. It is also possible to strengthen the teaching of certain topics in geography by citing examples from other subjects.
(vi) Knowledge of using and handling of Maps, diagrams, Sketches etc.
Geography puts more emphasis on the study of cause and effect relationship. Such a relationship is explained with the help of maps, charts, diagrams etc. So these things (charts, models, maps etc.) occupy an important place in teaching of geography. Maps and charts play a vital role in secondary classes.
A geography teacher takes the help of these maps and charts to explain various points fully. The use of maps, charts etc. also make the teaching of geography interesting and lively.
A geography teacher should be able to handle these properly so as to make a full and proper use of these teaching aids.
He must be able to draw good charts and maps himself because if a chart is drawn on the black board it is possible for the students to understand the subject matter in a better way. Thus a geography teacher should be able to handle and make the charts, maps, and models etc successfully and properly.
(vii) Arrangement of curriculum and syllabus according to season
If possible an effort is made to arrange the curricula on the basis of season and weather to make teaching realistic and interesting. Teaching about rainfall can be taken up by the teacher during rainy season.
It would help to make knowledge more stable and permanent. In the same way the teaching about a particular crop can be taken up during that season in which the crop is actually grown up in the area.
The teaching of Frost, Fog etc. be taken up during winter. Such an arrangement if made properly will make the teaching of geography very interesting. It would help the teaching of geography and would also help in making full and proper utilization of time available to the teacher for teaching of geography.
(viii) Scientific Method of Thinking
It is essential that a teacher of geography has a scientific way of thinking. Such an attitude on the part of geography teacher is desirable for him to be able to explain the course and effect relationship which forms the backbone of teaching of geography.
In teaching of geography Heuristic attitude is desirable. Teacher should always impress upon his students not to take anything for granted and to verify facts before accepting them.
(ix) Ability to Draw Maps.
Map is the most important teaching aid in geography teaching. Frankly speaking geography teaching wills never the complete without a map. It is thus essential that a good geography teacher must be able to draw maps, sketch maps and diagrams on the black board whenever required.
(x) Quality of Leadership and direction
This quality of leadership is essential for a geography teacher like any other good teacher. In the absence of leadership qualities teacher cannot handle his students successfully.
In geography this quality is emphasized in the teacher because he has to exercise a control on his students during tours and excursions which form a part of geography curriculum these days. For a better control the qualities of leadership and direction are desirable in a geography teacher.
(xi) Love for Excursions and Travels
Excursions and Travels form on integral part of the geography curriculum these days. It is therefore obligatory on the part of geography teacher to arrange such tours and excursions for his students.
The successful organization of such tours and excursions is possible only if the geography teacher himself is interested in tours and excursions. Such tours and excursions enable the child to acquire the knowledge directly by observing various things and geographical phenomenon themselves.
This direct observation provides the students an easy method of acquiring knowledge and is considered very effective and successful. Direct knowledge is considered better than any other type of knowledge. Such knowledge is ever lasting.
Only a teacher who himself is interested in tours and excursions will be able to guide his students in the observation of geographical phenomenon and other things and do justice to his job.
(xii) Interest in collection of things of Geographical Importance
Geographical museum occupies the most important places in the teaching of geography. For a good museum we need a good collection of things of geographical importance.
It is only with the help of such collections and exhibits that one can make teaching of geography more interesting and lively. Such a collection is possible only if the geography teacher has an interest in the collection of things of geographical importance. In addition to having an interest in collection of things he should also be interested in organizing the museum.
It is only by properly arranging the things and presenting them in their real form before the students that a geography teacher can make his teaching interesting and lively for his students.
To provide an insight into the knowledge about soil, rocks etc. they can be arranged in some interesting way in the geography museum and presented to the students in most acceptable way. Similarly maps, charts, sketches etc. be properly arranged.
The charts showing the inhabitants of different countries, sea-routes, lands etc. are depicted at some suitable places in the geography room (museum).
(xiii) A Good Story Teller.
Story telling is an art and it is the most desirable thing to be possessed by a geography teacher. A good geography teacher should be capable of framing stories connected with different geographical aspects and present such stories to his students in an interesting way.
This quality is more desirable in a geography teacher teaching lower classes and it makes him a very successful teacher.
(xiv) An Idealistic and Philosophical Out-look
Such an outlook is essential for a good geography teacher like any other subject teacher. The attitude of a teacher should be based on sound philosophical foundations, so as to develop the feeling of world brotherhood and world fraternity in his students.
(xv) International Understanding:
As already discussed while discussing the aims of teaching geography, “one of the aims of teaching geography is to produce inter-national understanding in the children”. It is the aim of geography teaching to tell the students about various countries, various communities etc.
It is also aimed to make students understand how physical, natural and social environments are invisible but effective ties binding us together.
To teach these things, the teacher must have a full faith in all these things. A good geography teacher must rise above political boundaries. A natural region is the natural geographical region and not a politically demarcated country.
(xvi) Capacity to Inculcate Interest and Respect for the Subject
To understand a subject the pupil must be interested in that subject and a good teacher is one who can infuse regard for the subject and interest in it. This can be achieved by handling the subject matter in a psychological way. Even the personality, behaviour, mode of teaching etc. of a teacher may incite the students to get interested in geography.
( xvii) Alive to Aims and Objectives of Teaching of Geography
We have already discussed the aims and objectives of teaching of geography and a good geography teacher should always keep in mind these aim and objectives. The more a teacher is able to achieve these aims and objectives more successful are the teacher.