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 
  • 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.

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 . . . There is no substitute for kindness. As teachers we are under a lot of pressure and must find ways to work with parents and their children.  Teachers that empathise with parents concerns and think through possible solutions to use in the classroom become better teachers

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


Effective teachers make time for each student individually. I know that’s a tall order but it’s something we need to develop if we are going to students have great results. We need to make time to see which students are faltering or need challenging and why, then make changes to what we do. 

Teachers with this personality trait aren’t necessarily better at handling their time but they tend to know when they should make that extra effort to make it happen. 

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. They tend to listen and gain insight into what’s troubling a student. Students who experience this trait in a teacher feel loved and understood. In turn they want to do even the hard work we ask of them. 

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. When students see this care they are more likely trust the teacher and work with them.

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? Don’t compare yourself too much with other teachers but rather learn from their positive traits and see how you can improve. 

The most effective teachers didn’t become stars overnight. They are constantly looking for ways to improve what they do and try out new ways of teaching something.

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. 

Fill the classroom with enthusiasm even if you make some mistakes you can correct them tomorrow. Smile! Students love it when we smile. It can change the whole mood of a classroom. 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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