The Personality of a Teacher

Values and character are indeed caught and not taught. Teachers as models inside the classroom influence how students view themselves. Students feel supported when the teacher shows tolerance, energy and care. Students can also feel positive about themselves when they receive compassion, acceptance and confidence. Teachers are humans. Each one has a personality. We remember teachers who are kind and caring. Teachers who are strict are equally memorable. Derrick Meador at ThoughtCo. lists the following traits as helpful for teachers and students: adaptability, conscientious, creativeness, determination, empathy, forgiving, genuineness, graciousness, gregarious, grit, independence, intuitiveness, kindness, obedience,passionate, patience, reflective, resourceful, respectful, and responsible. How the personality of a teacher affects students is an important question in basic education. Recent research shows that the personality of a teacher correlates with how we view ourselves but not with how we perform academically.

Above copied from ThoughtCo.

A well-known model in psychology divides personality into five big traits:

  • Openness : adventurous, curious, inventive
  • Conscientiousness : organized, disciplined, reliable
  • Extraversion : outgoing, energetic, assertive
  • Agreeableness : friendly, compassionate, cooperative
  • Neuroticism : nervous, anxious, emotionally unstable

Lisa Kim et al. in their study have looked at 20 schools, which included more than 2000 students, and about 75 math and reading teachers across Australia, to draw relationships between the personality of a teacher and the following student outcomes: teacher academic support, teacher personal support, personal self-efficacy, and grades.

Their conclusions are as follows:

  • A teacher's conscientiousness is important for a student's belief that a teacher can support him or her academically.
  • A teacher's agreeableness is important for a student's belief that a teacher can support him or her personally
  • A teacher's neuroticity negatively correlates with a student's sense of self-efficacy
  • A teacher's personality is not correlated with  students' academic achievement

The finding that a teacher's neuroticity translates to a student's weaker self-concept shows that values are indeed contagious. A student seeing an organized teacher as more academically dependable, and a student regarding an agreeable teacher as a good emotional support, are both not surprising. The fact that a teacher's personality does not correlate with a student's academic achievement demonstrates that a teacher's personality is much more important in a student's socioemotional development.