Resources › For Educators Characteristics of a 21st-Century Teacher Share Flipboard Email Print Photo Courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images For Educators Teaching An Introduction to Teaching Tips & Strategies Policies & Discipline Community Involvement School Administration Technology in the Classroom Teaching Adult Learners Issues In Education Teaching Resources Becoming A Teacher Assessments & Tests Elementary Education Secondary Education Special Education Homeschooling By Janelle Cox Education Expert M.S., Education, Buffalo State College B.S., Education, Buffalo State College Janelle Cox, M.S., is an education writer specializing in elementary school education. our editorial process Janelle Cox Updated July 19, 2019 What does a 21st-century teacher look like to you? You may have heard this popular buzzword thrown around your school or on the news, but do you know what a modern-day educator really looks like? Beyond the obvious of being up-to-date on the latest in technology, they can have the characteristics of a facilitator, a contributor, or even an integrator. Here are six more key characteristics of a 21st-century educator. They're Adaptive They are able to adapt to whatever comes there way. Being a teacher in today's world means that you have to adapt to the ever-changing tools and changes that are being implemented in the schools. Smartboards are replacing chalkboards and tablets are replacing textbooks and a 21st-century teacher needs to be okay with that. Lifelong Learners These educators don't just expect their students to be a lifelong learner, but they are as well. They stay up-to-date with current educational trends and technology and know how to tweak their old lesson plans from years before to make them more current. Are Tech Savvy Technology is changing at a rapid pace and that means that a 21st-century teacher is right along for the ride. The latest technology, whether it's for lessons or grading, will allow the teacher and student to be able to learn better and faster. An effective teacher knows that learning about the latest gadget can truly transform their students' education, so they are not just current on the new trends, but really know how to master them. Know How to Collaborate An effective 21st-century educator must be able to collaborate and work well within a team. Over the past decade, this important skill has grown quite rapidly in schools. Learning is deemed to be more effective when you can share your ideas and knowledge with others. Sharing your expertise and experience, and communicating and learning from others is an important part of the learning and teaching process. Are Forward Thinking An effective 21st-century educator thinks about their students' future and is aware of the career opportunities that may arise from them. They are always planning to ensure that no child gets left behind so they focus on preparing today's children for what's to come in the future. Are Advocates for the Profession They are an advocate not only for their students but their profession. Today's teachers are being watched with a close eye because of all of the changes in curriculum and the Common Core. Instead of sitting back, a 21st-century teacher takes a stand for their themselves and their profession. They pay close attention to what is going on in education and they address these issues head-on. They also advocate for their students. Today's classrooms are filled with children who need someone to look out for them, give them advice, encouragement, and a listening ear. Effective teachers share their knowledge and expertise and act as a role model for their students. 21st-century teaching means teaching as you have always taught but with today's tools and technology. It means utilizing everything that is important in today's world so that students will be able to live and prosper in today's economy, as well as having the ability to guide students and to prepare them for the future.