8 personality traits great teachers should have

8 Types of Personality Traits

There are eight personality traits successful teachers should demonstrate. They are key to student’s retention of the skills because students follow every action we do and say. 

Few of us are born great teachers, but we can all maximise our skills and qualities.

Using the acronym C.R.E.A.T.I.V.E. let’s discuss eight major personality traits teachers should have:   creativity, reliability, empathy, agreeableness, timeliness, individual-care, versatility, and enthusiasm.


creativity trait


Creativity is key to captivating a student, and I don’t mean art lessons. It’s important to create a safe and inviting classroom environment. 

Creative teachers deliberately spark interest and look for ways to get students to apply what they learn in the real world. It’s super important to teach each concept in multiple ways and not just stick to one way. This takes creativity and work but is fun for both teacher and student.

reliability trait


Reliable teachers are seen as professional, and school leadership tend to ask them to help where there is a need. 

Without integrity, no one will trust you. You can’t expect your students and colleagues to be honest with you if you don’t do the same for them. It’s about remaining true to your values regardless of the situation. Teachers that lack integrity, unfortunately, do not last long and often jump from one school to another.

A teacher is meant to teach you not only life lessons but how to maintain patience and keep a cool head, never to be rude or lose our temper.

empathy trait


An effective teacher is sensitive to their students’ needs. Empathy enables a teacher to relate to his or her students. Teachers who have this type of personality trait recognise that some students have a difficult home life. They try to work out ways to help them. 

One way is to ask open questions i.e. I understand how hard this is for you . . . or That must have hurt your feelings . . . 

The best way is to just listen. Everyone, everywhere wants someone to actively listen even if you say nothing. 

agreeableness trait


Developing these types of personality traits should not be difficult, especially this one. Perhaps if you were born with the opposite disposition, it might be difficult. 

It is known that the more agreeable someone is, the more likely they are to be trusting, helpful and compassionate. Students are drawn to teachers who have this personality trait.

While arrogant teachers may sometimes rise to school leadership positions, few of them thrive in those roles. Arrogance leads to poor decisions and causes your students and fellow colleagues to both distrust and dislike you.

You might say you don’t have it, but you can choose to stop being disagreeable because of something that happened earlier in the day and change your mind not to be sulky. Just stop and think – ‘Is that the way I would like someone to behave towards me?’ No? – Then don’t do it.

timeliness trait


I lived and worked for fifteen years on a Pacific island where people do not live by the clock. If you’re on time, you’re considered to be rather early. If you’re 3 to 5 hours late, you’re on time. If you arrive the next day, you just got held up – no worries. It’s called ‘Solomon time’. 

At first, I found it frustrating, especially in trying to run a school and teach at the same time. Gradually, after living there fifteen years I found I had so adapted, I had taken on this cultural trait. It’s taken quite a lot of time to get this out of my system. Occasionally, I fall back into it – crazy!

Most students don’t like their teachers to be late and many students end up following the example we lead. Time management is key to getting everything done. Do you meet all your deadlines? You can’t change other people but there’s one person you can work on and that’s yourself. Change your routine if it’s killing your timeliness.

individual-care trait


Teachers who show individual care can tell when students are struggling with learning new concepts. This type of personality trait enables teachers to adapt a lesson so that all students can understand. 

As a professional teacher, you will have many ups and downs. You don’t have the luxury of feeling depressed, frustrated, or disgruntled. It’s your responsibility to keep your emotions under control and help your students to grow and learn.

versatility trait


The effective teacher is very versatile. Those who have developed this type of personality trait well, can handle any sudden changes. They are effective in minimising distractions when the lesson does not go as planned.

Persistence is one of the most important qualities a great teacher can have. This trait goes along with emotional stability. Are you able to adapt your lesson plans on the go when things are going wrong? 

Do you double your efforts when faced with an obstacle, or does your will falter?

enthusiasm trait


Why should a student be excited about learning when their teacher is not enthusiastic about teaching? Think about it. Would you be keen to sit in the same seat in the same position in the same drab room doing the same drab worksheet after worksheet or textbook, every workday, every week, all year long? 

Be truthful. How many teachers complain at one-hour staff meetings or one-hour PDs where the speaker is droning on. No, You wouldn’t last a week! But, many students are expected to accept this kind of behaviour from their teacher silently. 

Please don’t let it be you. Bring out that enthusiasm even if you make some mistakes you can correct them tomorrow. Think outside the box and be creative in your approach. To excite and inspire your students requires enthusiasm and a passion, in you. Let it become contagious. 

If you can’t inspire your students to follow you on the road of learning, intimidation is the only alternative. Learn how to inspire students to do their best and to develop these types of personality traits in themselves too.

Effective Teachers

Do your own Personality Traits stack up?

You might like to read Kendra Cherry’s ‘Five Big Personality Traits’ and compare them with the CREATIVE eight above. 

How do your own personality traits stack up? What can you improve to become a more effective professional teacher? Not everyone is born with natural teaching skills, but everyone can become an effective teacher with development.

If you want to become a great teacher, work on these eight personality traits to become the best teacher you can be.

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