A male teacher at the head of the classroom

From the iconic Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society to the inspiring Ms. Honey in Matilda, teachers have been portrayed as transformative figures in popular culture. However, the reality of teaching is far more complex than these romanticized portrayals. It's not just about standing in front of a classroom and delivering lessons. It involves a deep understanding of individual learning styles, creating inclusive environments, and fostering intellectual curiosity. 

The decision to become a teacher should not be taken lightly. One critical factor to consider is whether your personality aligns with the demands and rewards of the profession.

What Does a Teacher Do?

At its core, teaching is about facilitating learning. This includes planning and delivering lessons, assessing student performance and providing feedback. However, the responsibilities of a teacher extend far beyond these tasks. Teachers also play a significant role in shaping the social and emotional development of their students. They create safe and inclusive learning environments, mediate conflicts and provide guidance on personal and academic issues.

The teaching profession is incredibly diverse. From early childhood education to adult learning, teachers can specialize in various fields and subjects. Whether it's sparking curiosity in a kindergarten classroom or guiding research in a university seminar, the role of a teacher can vary greatly depending on the context.

What are the Skills Needed to Become a Teacher?

  1. Communication: Teachers need to explain complex concepts in a way that students can understand. This requires both verbal and written communication skills. For example, a math teacher might need to explain a complex equation using simple language and visual aids.
  2. Empathy: Understanding and responding to the emotional needs of students is crucial. For instance, a teacher might need to provide extra support to a student who is struggling with personal issues.
  3. Organization: Teachers juggle multiple tasks, from lesson planning to grading assignments. Being able to manage time and resources effectively is essential.
  4. Creativity: Engaging students often requires thinking outside the box. A history teacher, for example, might use role-play to bring historical events to life.
  5. Patience: Learning takes time, and teachers need to be patient with students who are struggling. This might involve providing additional explanations or finding different ways to approach a concept.

Which Personality Types Make the Best Teachers?

Certain personality traits can be particularly beneficial in the teaching profession. Using the Big Five personality traits and TypeFinder, or Myers-Briggs types, as references, we can explore how personality might influence one's aptitude for teaching.

Big Five Personality Traits of Teachers

  1. Openness: Teachers with high levels of openness are likely to be creative and flexible in their teaching methods. They might be more willing to experiment with new teaching strategies or incorporate different perspectives into their lessons.
  2. Conscientiousness: This trait is associated with organization and reliability, which are crucial for managing the many responsibilities of teaching.
  3. Extraversion: While not a requirement, extraversion can be beneficial in the classroom. Extraverted teachers might find it easier to engage with students and create a lively learning environment. However, with the right strategies, introverted teachers can excel in the classroom, too. 
  4. Agreeableness: Teachers need to be able to build positive relationships with students, parents and colleagues. High levels of agreeableness can facilitate this.
  5. Neuroticism: This trait is associated with emotional instability. While a certain level of emotional sensitivity can be beneficial for understanding students' needs, high levels of neuroticism might make the stress of teaching more challenging.

You can take our Big Five personality test to see how these traits play out in your life.

TypeFinder Types of Teachers

Different TypeFinder types might find different aspects of teaching more or less appealing. For example, ENFJs and ESFJs, with their strong interpersonal skills and desire to help others, might excel in creating inclusive and supportive classroom environments. On the other hand, INTPs and INTJs might be drawn to the intellectual challenges of teaching, such as developing curriculum or conducting research, and may be drawn to post-secondary education

Take our TypeFinder assessment to find out your unique type!

How to Become a Teacher

If you're considering a career in teaching, start by gaining some practical experience. This could involve volunteering at a local school, tutoring, or even teaching a class at a community center. You might also consider pursuing a degree in education or a related field.

To further explore your career options, consider taking a career assessment. Our Career Personality Profiler, Holland Code, and DISC tests can provide valuable insights into your career interests and aptitudes.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all personality for teachers. Whether you're an extraverted ENFJ or an introverted INTP, there's a place for you in the teaching profession. The key is to find the role that aligns with your unique skills and interests. 

So, if you're passionate about learning and want to make a difference in the lives of others, why not take the next step and explore a career in teaching?

Megan Malone
Megan holds an MS in organizational psychology and manages content and brand marketing at Truity. She is passionate about helping people improve their relationships, careers, and quality of life using personality psychology. An INFJ and Enneagram 9, Megan lives quietly in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and two pups. You can chat with her on Twitter @meganmmalone.