We talked to veteran teachers here at Study.com to identify the most common types of students you’ll encounter in the classroom. Read about the good and the bad of each type as well as your plan of action for interacting with them so that you feel prepared!

The 6 Types of Students You’ll Have in Your First Class
We talked to veteran teachers here at Study.com to identify the most common types of students you’ll encounter in the classroom. Read about the good and the bad of each type as well as your plan of action for interacting with them so that you feel prepared!
The Overachiever
This is the kid who really wants to get a 4.0. Oh, who are we kidding? He wants a 4.5. The Overachiever dreams about going to Yale the same way other kids dream about the next season of Game of Thrones. It probably doesn’t help that Mom and Dad are monitoring his grades on a three-times-daily basis. If the Overachiever raises his hand, it’s probably to ask about how the test will be scored.
Boy doing homework
The Good: The Overachiever doesn’t hesitate to go the extra ten or fifteen miles. He’s thorough, detail-oriented, and never late to class. In fact, he might even get there before you do.
The Bad: For the Overachiever, school is a game and he is going to win. Tests and quizzes? Easy. More open-ended, creative projects? Terrifying. Group projects? Oh, hell no. ”You mean my grade depends on somebody else?? ”
Your Plan of Action : Gently nudge at the Overachiever’s comfort zone. It’s up to you to work with him on getting over the fear of stepping out of the box. And by box, we mean traditional, structured instruction. According to a 2011 study in Science, students perform dramatically better when they are more actively engaged in the learning process, meaning that extra little push the Overachiever needs to get there will be well worth it.
The Underachiever
This kid is more interested in napping than learning. Other things he finds more interesting than school? Video games, YouTube, watching paint dry… He just wants to get his Cs and get outta there. Graduation day couldn’t come any sooner.
The Good: Unlike the Overachiever, the Underachiever can actually excel at out-of-the-box thinking because he doesn’t thrive in the traditional classroom structure. He responds well to one-on-one engagement.
Student sleeping at desk
The Bad: The tardy slips pile up with this one. The homework doesn’t. He certainly can’t be bothered to do the assigned reading. Heck, he’s sometimes too lazy to even watch the movie.
Your Plan of Action : Find the spark. Ignite it. Your job is to help the Underachiever find his passions and cultivate them. A study done at Stanford in 2015 suggests that getting your Underachiever to believe that he can learn, grow, and achieve a purpose in life can make a big difference – and that it might be as easy as a quick Internet-based intervention. After all, you can’t spell ”Underachiever ” without ”achieve. ” Or something cheesy like that.
The Tough One
Sure, he might have a few behavioral problems, but he’s pretty charming. His problems range from a defiant attitude to strained dynamics with his peers. He probably has a lot going on at home and you’re just witnessing the parts of it that have spilled over into the classroom.
The Good: The Tough One might just be one of your favorite students to interact with, probably because he’s had to grow up a lot quicker than his peers. It can be very rewarding to work with him one-on-one.
The Bad: He’s the most common cause of distractions in your classroom. He’ll test your boundaries and your disciplinary style, whatever it may be. With a kid this checked out, it can be quite the uphill battle to get him to buy back in.
Your Plan of Action: The Tough One will likely take a disproportionate amount of your time and energy because, well, he needs it most. He benefits from warmth and consistency in the classroom, potentially because it’s the only place he can get it. Unfortunately, there’s no one way to address his issues. Chances are, your work will involve a combination of one-on-one time, empathetic listening, and truly understanding his academic and personal struggles.
The Class Clown
Her future might be at SNL, but for now, she’ll settle for cracking jokes in your 4th period Physics class. And she’s actually pretty good at it. Who knew there were so many puns to be made about Bunsen burners?
The Good: School can get a little dreary, even for you. The Class Clown can lighten the mood at the right time. The whole class appreciates the boost in morale.
The Bad: Kids gets easily distracted. The Class Clown can derail your instruction, take over a discussion, or cause an uproar.
Your Plan of Action: Harness her desire to be in front of the class. Public speaking is her specialty. The Class Clown doesn’t need encouragement so much as clear, well-enforced boundaries around appropriate times for input.
The Teacher’s Pet
His is the first hand up when you ask a question, the one encouraging face in the crowd during a particularly painful lecture, and the loudest laugh when you make a joke. He keeps you rolling in Starbucks gift cards during the holiday season… Thanks, Teacher’s Pet.
The Good: It’s pretty awesome to have a student who always volunteers to collect the tests, answer the phones, or watch the class when you need desperately an unexpected bathroom break.
The Bad: Ever wonder how the Teacher’s Pet finds time to eat lunch in your classroom every day despite his busy social schedule? Yeah, he probably doesn’t have one. Unfortunately, the Teacher’s Pet is often engaging with you because of problematic social dynamics with his peers.
Your Plan of Action: He might be desperately asking for extra attention, but don’t allow the Teacher’s Pet to suck up all of your energy. It’ll help the both of you if you treat him the same as everybody else. Even if it means you’ll have to pay for your own latte every once in a while.
The Golden Student
Every once in a while, you hit the jackpot in the form of a kid who genuinely loves learning. She’s smart, put-together, a jack of all trades. Her head is in the right place. She probably has her stuff together more than you do.
The Good: She’s not afraid to take on a challenge. Rather than seeing it as a judgment of her intelligence, The Golden Student approaches failure as an opportunity for growth. She goes the extra mile, not for the A+, but for the love of learning. It’s refreshing, inspiring, and exactly what you were hoping for when you got into this profession.
The Bad: You might notice a little bit of resentment from the Golden Student’s peers. After all, she’s set the bar impossibly high. As for you? You can’t help but miss her when she’s moved on to bigger and better things.
Your Plan of Action : Challenge her. According to Dr. Don Ambrose at Rider University, ”Seventy percent of… kids who are high ability are underachieving.” Sure, it might be inevitable that the Golden Student get bored every once in a while, but letting her slip by unengaged? That’d be a tragedy. Do your part, and in ten or fifteen years, when you’re watching her delivering some important speech on TV, you’ll realize it was all worth it.
5 transformative types of teachers
1. Elementary school teachers
Elementary school teachers play a critical role in establishing the foundation for learning. They devote their careers to instructing young students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students make dramatic learning gains in these early years of school — ones that set them up for academic success as they age. As such, elementary school teachers play a role of utmost importance.
They teach an array of subjects to their students within a single classroom, such as reading, social studies, science and math. In doing so, elementary school teachers develop engaging lesson plans to teach these subjects in an age-appropriate manner to their students. They may also collaborate with special education teachers to adapt lesson plans to students’ needs.
Teachers in this setting tend to take on more of a hands-on approach to learning with their students. For example, they may teach their students about photosynthesis with a plant-growing activity. Hands-on activities allow younger students to grasp bigger concepts.
The key with elementary teachers is building a strong foundation for larger skills to develop as the student ages. They must also work to instill a love of learning in students. Elementary school teachers closely observe their students to evaluate their development. They identify any learning challenges a student may face and help them to overcome them, and they may also meet with parents to discuss progress and concerns. Teaching at the elementary level allows professionals to play an intrinsic role in the lives of some of our youngest students.
2. Middle school teachers
Another highly critical period in a student’s life is middle school. Grades six through eight set the stage for high school and beyond, and they cannot be overlooked in terms of importance. These are the years in which some students may start to disengage with school, putting them at risk of dropping out later down the line. Middle school teachers play a critical role in engaging and challenging students as they build on concepts learned at the elementary level.
Like elementary school teachers, middle school teachers also develop lesson plans to teach concepts to their students. However, unlike elementary school teachers who cover many subjects, a middle school teacher will typically teach a specific subject, such as math or history. They evaluate the academic growth of their students and meet with parents to discuss students’ progress.
With different classes filtering in throughout the day, a middle school teacher will come in contact with a larger variety of students than an elementary school teacher does with a set classroom. Additionally, middle school teachers often enjoy the opportunity to coach athletics or lead other student extracurricular activities after school.
3. High school teachers
Like their middle school counterparts, high school teachers will typically teach a single subject. Some teach students within a single grade, while others teach students at all grade levels. High school teachers develop their lesson plans to challenge and engage their students. They assess their students’ progress through graded assignments and exams, and they work with students to overcome any challenges they have in the classroom.
As with middle school teachers, high school teachers may have the opportunity to coach athletics or advise other student groups after school.
The focus for teachers in this setting is to prepare students for life after high school — whether that means attending college or entering the full-time working world. The ultimate goal is to see students through to graduation — which can greatly increase opportunities throughout a lifetime.
With these outcomes in mind, high school teachers can be highly influential in their students’ lives. As students become more mature and independent throughout high school, teachers can connect with them in different ways, acting as a mentor, giving advice and even providing guidance on the next steps in life.
4. Special education teachers
Special education teachers work with students of all ages who have a range of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. They collaborate with general education teachers, counselors, administrators and the parents of students to develop individualized education programs fit for each student. They also work with social workers, psychologists and teaching assistants in order to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities.
Special education teachers lead classes on a variety of subjects, working with an entire classroom, a small group or even one student at a time. They may teach adapted curriculums to some students with mild disabilities, or they may work on developing life skills in students with severe disabilities.
Just like teachers in general education, special education teachers evaluate each student’s progress and communicate their assessments to parents. They prepare students to transition from grade to grade and for life after graduation.
Another prominent duty of special education teachers is to support and advocate for the needs of students with disabilities. Because general education teachers are typically not trained to provide special support services, special education teachers serve the critical need of providing students of all abilities with access to an education.
Special education teachers work to maximize each of their students’ potential. They watch their students succeed in big and small ways and help students make breakthroughs in their progress. Along the way, special education teachers build trust with their students, and they get the privilege of helping their students overcome all kinds of barriers in order to live their best lives.
5. ESL teachers
English language learners (ELL) represent the fastest-growing student population within U.S. schools, making the role of an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher all the more important. In fact, this segment of the population will soon comprise a quarter of all U.S. students.
ESL teachers work in elementary, middle and high schools with students of a wide age range. Sometimes they lead their own classroom of ELL students, and sometimes they provide support to an ELL student within an immersive class taught by another teacher.
They work to help their students acquire fluency of the English language in order to speak confidently and write effectively. Because the ESL teacher and the ELL student do not share a common language, repetition, demonstration and the use of visuals help students acquire new vocabulary.
ESL teachers also double as a cultural bridge for ELL students. They help students understand their native cultures’ similarities and differences to American culture, while assisting students in acquiring the critical language skills needed to find success in the classroom and throughout their lives.
Which type of teacher will you become?
If you want a career you can feel good about at the end of each day, week and year, you’re headed in the right direction with your draw toward teaching. Think of the legacy you’ll leave over a lifetime as an educator: the hundreds of students who came through your classrooms, the thousands of ways you inspired them and the numerous ways they impacted you in return.
All types of teachers can play a dramatic role in the lives of their students, leaving impressions in both small and big ways. Which type of teacher do you think you’d like to become? Be sure to check out The College of St. Scholastica’s School of Education page to learn more about how you can get started on a lifetime of transforming young lives through a rewarding career in teaching.
1. The Perfect Classroom Teacher
Slow motion classy teacher walking down hallway cigarette in mouth, sunglasses on
Otherwise known as the “Pinterest-Ready” teacher, there’s at least one in every school. Classroom decor has taken a new meaning with this kind of teacher. They go to all lengths to make their classroom awesome. They cut their summer breaks weeks short to get started early on the back-to-school preparations, they drop a fair amount of money on materials, and they transform plain, old, ugly walls & drop-down ceilings into learning wonderlands. They do it every season, every holiday, every chance they can, to make it more colorful, more comfortable, and make every student want to stop by.
2. The High-Energy Teacher
If you don’t have one in your school, you’ve surely seen them go viral on social media with their morning warm-up videos, dancing on desks, rapping grammar lessons, and chanting their hearts out. It’s a mystery where they find all the energy and physical endurance to do it every day, but like Energizer bunnies, they keep going and going and going.
3. The Stressed-Out Teacher
stressed-out teacher screaming in classroom
Every teacher gets to this state of mind at some point in the school year. It’s only human. There’s only so much one can handle between all the paperwork, meetings, and interruptions that drive us to the very limits of sanity. We all panic sometimes, we all break down every now and then. The stressed-out teacher can often be found taking deep breaths in the middle of class and headache medicine directly after. Don’t be surprised if you see them starting the countdown to summer break, already in the Fall.
4. The Heartfelt Teacher
Oprah crying
This is the teacher who would do anything for their students. They lose sleep at night thinking about ways to help the struggling ones. You’ll see students’ drawings hung up all over their walls, their desktops and drawers are full of random gifts every student ever gave them, and you might catch them tearing up over an “aha” moment or a simple sentimental gesture. You’ll see a lot of old students stopping by to say hello to this teacher, and they’ll never forget the names of all their “kids”.
5. The Hard-Ass Teacher
Snape “Life isn’t fair”
This teacher is hard on their students, but for good reasons. They come to school to teach above all, not to make friends with students. Their respect must be earned and they expect students to take responsibility for all of their actions. These teachers are not cold-hearted, they care more about their students’ progress than most. To them, setting the bar high, making students work hard, and teaching them to be disciplined will prepare them for life more than they’ll ever know.
6. The Know-It-All Teacher
This teacher has memorized all the latest research on best teaching approaches. They’re often the one volunteering to run the Professional Development meetings and sending staff-wide emails about the best teacher conferences to attend. Truth is, they’re extremely passionate about the science behind teaching and got into this profession because of their love for learning. However, they’re also probably the ones asking a question at the end of staff meetings to prolong them another 10-15 minutes!
7. The Burnt-Out Teacher
Exhausted man in front of copier “everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.”
Again, every teacher feels like this at some point out. Tired teachers have permanent dark circles around their eyes, are always holding a cup of coffee, and act kind of numb to the chaos surrounding them. They fall asleep during staff meetings and have stacks of papers on their desk, which they’ve put off grading for weeks, sometimes months. The question is not: “Are you this teacher?”, it’s: “At what point in the school year will you become this teacher?”
8. The Big Brother/Sister Teacher
Every new teacher’s favorite person in the school. They’ve been around the block, they’re always available for some much-needed support, and always there to let you know it’s gonna be OK. Often referred to as “mentor” or “oh wise one”, they can always be counted on for a pick-me-up when the going gets tough. And boy, does it get tough sometimes!
9. The Health-Crazy Teacher
“I have run 10 miles a day, every day for 18 years. That’s 65 thousand miles. a third of the way to the moon.”
That teacher who trains for marathons, goes for 5 mile runs before the start of a school day, always has the healthiest lunch, gives their students and co-workers nutritional advice, and somehow with a teacher salary, only eats organic food. Even if you’re not ready to give up your break room snacks and Diet Cokes, these teachers are a great influence to be around. Get to know them better, and you might find yourself replacing soda with yoga!
10. The Always-Complaining Teacher
Comedian looking annoyed
This one has had enough of the school system BS. Whenever you run into them, they always have a story to tell. The second they see another adult, they explode with everything that set them off so far that day. Misbehaving students, annoying parents, the unannounced observation, the pointless staff meeting, that other teacher they don’t like, the cafeteria food, the extra kid admin threw in their class, you name it. It’s pure entertainment. They’re also often cracking sarcastic comments during staff meetings, adding a little humor to the party.
11. The Over-Organized Teacher
Leslie Knope “I mean, they’re color coded for God’s sake!”
These teachers like their stuff a certain way, and you better not touch a thing, or they’ll notice. They’re in love with lamination, color-coordination, labeling, bins, filing cabinets, bulletin boards, and their precious markers. Their drawers, desktop, and cabinets are meticulous. These over-organized teachers are usually super efficient since they know where everything is. As a result, they’re generally more composed, because they don’t lose their minds trying to find where they put things, all the time.
12. The Jocky-Coach Teacher
PE teacher blowing on whistle
He or she is the coach of one of the school’s beloved sports teams. They’re often seen wearing custom athletic apparel from head to toe, or a polo, khakis & sneakers. They can be seen blowing a whistle in the hallway or in the classroom, high-fiving their players, and making sports references to Mathematical equations or History lessons.
13. The Super Teacher
This is the teacher that makes every other teacher look “ordinary“. Their classroom looks like Disney World and Martha Stewart had a baby, they’re always full of energy, well-dressed, well-spoken, loved by students, volunteering at school events, speaking at teacher conferences, and running a successful TpT business on the side. This is a rare breed of human being. It makes us wonder if they actually might have some kind of superpower, or what kind of magic coffee bean they get in their Starbucks latte.
14. The Fashionable Teacher
fashionable man posing
This teacher might not always be on time or have the best-looking classroom, but they always come to school in style. Even when their world is turned upside-down, they’re on the verge of a mental breakdown, they always look like they’ve got their shit together. How they do it, we’ll never know.
Read the three essays. For EACH essay answer these questions briefly.
1. What is the large group (the group that is being divided into categories)? (What is the subject of the essay?)
2. What is the characteristic that is being used to divide the large group into categories? (What is the thesis?)
3. What are the groups in the essay? List them with a brief definition in your own words. (What are the body paragraphs?)
You will do this 3 times–One for each essay.


Approximately 250 words