When you decide to send your child to a private secondary school, you are aiming for the very best education available, and the people who deliver that education are the teachers. One of the most important elements of all schools, including private schools, is the quality of the teaching staff. But how do you judge their abilities and what they will be able to do for your children?

Studying a private school’s exam results in your child’s chosen subjects is not the only way of judging performance. There’s a lot more to successful teaching than cramming your pupils full of facts and figures in preparation for exams. Making lessons an inspiring and enjoyable experience is a skill that every good private secondary school teacher should have. Taking a genuine interest in each child’s wellbeing, beyond the confines of the classroom – usually referred to as pastoral care – is also very important.

The best private secondary school teachers will take a holistic view of the development of each girl or boy and tailor their lessons individually. They are driven by the desire to bring out the best in their pupils, whether it is in the sciences, the arts or other subject areas. Successful private secondary school teachers use imagination and creativity in their chosen subjects and are full of passion. They are highly organised and good at planning out lessons in advance so that every opportunity for learning is maximised.

Teachers in private schools carry a weighty responsibility in that their pupils’ families have chosen their school, are paying school fees, and consequently have great expectations. One of the most important skills a good private secondary school teacher needs is the ability to interact with both pupils and their parents in a mature and engaging way. It’s no good being an expert mathematician if you cannot build good relationships – you need both the knowledge and the ability to pass it on to others. The sign of a truly inspirational teacher is the number of pupils they have nurtured and inspired to go on to great things in life.

It’s also not enough to just tread water without continually trying to improve and develop as a teacher. Good private secondary school teachers are always pushing themselves to improve their techniques and to keep up to speed with developments in their subject area. They regularly sign up for training sessions and help to mentor junior staff and assistants. They are often involved in a range of school activities such as social and sporting events.

Private schools in Nigeria usually have smaller class sizes than State-run schools, which gives them the advantage when it comes to giving each pupil the attention they need. This often also means that teachers in private secondary schools are less stressed than their State counterparts. As well as imparting knowledge to his or her class, a talented teacher will be able to control their behaviour and gain their respect through an effective use of classroom discipline. Everyone remembers their own inspirational teacher, but the trick is to spot which private schools have what it takes to inspire your own children.