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Personality Types of Students in a Typical Classroom

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Student carrying books outdoors
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The most challenging aspect of being a teacher is that there is no set mold on the types of students in a single class. A class of twenty students will likely have twenty different personalities at twenty different places academically. What are one student’s strengths will be another student's weakness and vise versa.

This is extremely challenging for even the most effective teachers. It is difficult to reach all students with a single approach; thus the finest teachers are excellent at differentiating instruction. It is essential that teachers use the beginning of the school year to figure out individual student’s strength and weaknesses. This can be done through interest inventories, personality surveys, and benchmark assessments.

Although having an array of personalities and academic strengths and weaknesses can be challenging it is also what keeps the profession exciting and challenging. If all students were the same it would be a terribly boring job. Students have primary differences in several different areas in both personality and academics. There are many combinations of two, especially in the area of personality. Here, we examine several common personality traits that you are likely to see in just about any classroom.

Classroom Personalities

BullyBullies typically pick on students who either cannot or will not defend themselves. Bullies themselves are often exceeding insecure people who prey on weaker individuals. There are physical, verbal, and cyber bullies. Most students will not stand up for students who are being bullied for fear of repercussions.

Class Clown – Every classroom has one or several students who believe it is their job to keep the remainder of the class entertained. These students love the attention and make it their primary goal to get laughs. This often gets these students into trouble and they are referred to office often.

Clueless – These students do not understand social cues or sarcasm. They can be easy targets for bullies, especially verbal bullying. They are often referred to as “blonde” or “air heads”. Their typically laid back and easy going.

Motivated – A motivated student is often a extremely hard worker with specific goals that they are trying to achieve. They may or may not be naturally smart, but they can typically overcome any learning issue through hard work. Teachers love to have motivated students because they are eager to learn, asks questions, and do anything to reach their goals.

Natural Leader – The natural leader is someone whom everyone looks up too. They are typically tremendously enthusiastic, well liked, and well rounded individuals. They often do not even realize that other people look up to them. Natural leaders often lead by example, but have the unique ability to get people to listen to them when they do speak.

Nerd – Typically, nerds have above average intelligence. They are often seen as different or quirky and are physically immature for their age. This makes them targets for bullies. They have unique interests compared to their peers and are often fixated on those interests.

Organized – These students are almost always prepared for class. They seldom forget to complete homework and bring what they need to class. Their locker or desk is exceptionally neat and orderly. They are always on time and ready to learn when class begins. They do not forget deadlines, are adept at staying on task, and managing their time.

Pot Stirrer – A pot stirrer loves to create drama without being in the center of the situation. They look for little pieces of information that they can use to turn one student against another. These students are master manipulators even changing up the story to ensure that there is drama. They understand what buttons to push and are excellent at doing that.

Quiet as a Mouse – These students are often shy and/or withdrawn. They only have a few friends and those friends are also typically quiet. They are never in trouble, but they rarely participate in classroom discussions. They avoid conflict and stay clear of drama. It can be extremely difficult for a teacher to gauge how well these students are learning.

Respectful – These students never has anything unpleasant to say. They are always on task and are typically well liked. They may not be the most popular students, but no one has anything unpleasant to say about them. They say please, thank you, and excuse me. They respond to people in authority with yes ma’am, no ma’am, yes sir, and no sir.

Smart Aleck- These students are extremely sarcastic, argumentative, and confrontational. They question or comment on everything that anyone including the teacher says. They are often sharp witted and are able to respond quickly to any situation. These students have a unique ability to get under a teacher’s skin and enjoy doing just that.

Socialite – A socialite would talk to a wall if they thought it would talk back. They always have something to say and find it difficult to go even a few minutes without talking. They love classroom discussions and are the first to raise their hands when the teacher asks a question. There is no limit to the topic. They are experts at everything and love to hear their own voice.

Unmotivated – An unmotivated student is typically labeled as lazy. They do not have the drive to succeed academically. They are just there because they have to be. In many cases, they do not have the necessary parental support at home to be successful. They frustrate teachers because many have tremendous potential, but refuse to complete or turn in assignments.

Unorganized – These students genuinely frustrate a teacher. They continuously forget to take homework or important notes home. Their locker or desk is chaotic. They often turn in crumpled papers due to being crammed inside a locker, back pack, or book. They are often late to class/school and are terrible at managing their time.

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