17 High School Teacher Archetypes Every Student Will Recognize

17 High School Teacher Archetypes Every Student Will Recognize

You’ve seen them - waiting in the hallways in the mornings, clustering together around doorways, weirdly cheerful when greeting students, a little too excited to welcome you into their classrooms. They’ve just come back from a training session, and are eager (overeager, if we’re being honest) to mold young minds. Never mind what the young minds think about that!

Yes, the high school teacher is a strange animal and in the zoo that is high school, they often seem like the most dangerous one. You’ve learned to navigate the complicated social structure and found your niche in the system, but navigating teachers and their bizarre habits is a whole different ballgame. Teachers come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and judging by their widely different teaching styles, it’s pretty clear they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a student. Maybe if they were predictable, that would be one thing, but it seems like as soon as you’ve figured one out, a new species of high school teacher crops up.


Are any of these high school teacher archetypes familiar to you?17 High School Teacher Archetypes Every Student Will Recognize Pin 1

The OCD. Walking into their classroom you feel certain that it has been arranged using a ruler and measuring tape. You also know that if your homework looks nice it probably doesn’t matter what it says.

The Dinosaur. This teacher may or may not have been teaching here when your parents were in high school. They lack a basic understanding of all technology, from computers to smartphones, and harbor an instinctive fear of what they don’t understand.

The Techie Geek. At the other end of the spectrum stands this hyper-with-it technological wiz. Yes, it’s cool that technology can do that, but is it really necessary to use it for everything?

The Just Stop. It’s a given that teachers are a bit weird, but there’s eccentric and then there’s just...uncomfortable. Class with this teacher is a series of cringes and avoiding eye-contact out of second-hand embarrassment.

The Dictator. They make it clear on the first day of class that being a respectful student means following every rule in the syllabus. Walking into this classroom feels like going back to kindergarten and learning to stand in a line all over again.

The Coach. Definitely hired to coach the team, this high school teacher muddles through the subject. Always friendly with their athletes and eager to pass them, it’s not clear if the teacher really understands what the class is about, or even knows the basic rules of grammar.

The Mad Scientist. Every school has one-that teacher who likes to wow students by lighting things on fire. It’s never boring, but it’s also not really...safe. At least it’s not Algebra.

The Buzzkill. They are serious about school and school work, and they expect you to be too. The fact that this specific required class might not be your main priority is incomprehensible and unacceptable. Shape up!

The Scatterbrain. They have a lesson plan, and it’s right here under this stack of ungraded tests, at least it was yesterday, or was it last week? What’s really the point of doing homework if it will probably be lost...

The Overshare. You never thought you’d say this, but can we maybe just get back to class? You know way too much about their child, their cat, and their recent medical problems, and it’s making Chaucer look pretty interesting.

The Antiestablishmentarian. Fighting The Man is cool and all, but tbh you’re probably not as invested this week’s cause as they are, and it’s getting exhausting keeping track of which rules you are supposed to follow and which ones you aren’t.

The Caffeine Junky. As they told you on the first day of class, they run on java. Class proceeds at a hectic pace, but beware the 2:00 PM crash.

The Hipster. This high school teacher embarrassingly copies student fashion trends, and attempts to use slang meaningfully in class. With every action they try to convince you they are your peer, but at the end of the day only one of you will be turning in homework.

The Gossip. Maybe this is the volleyball coach, maybe they chaperone school dances. Either way, this teacher knows the gossip, readily offers advice, and is never shy about sharing about their own private life.

The Permanent Sub. Well, they’re kind of a teacher. They have some lesson plans and some vague instructions, but it’s a visible relief for them when class is watching an educational movie.

The Timebomb. It’s pretty clear that they are barely holding it together, and anything that goes wrong could cause an explosion. Sitting in their classroom is a minefield as you try to avoid saying anything that could draw their attention.

The Unicorn. This teacher knows their subject, and even makes it interesting for students. In their rarest form, they also understand that your  life is made up of more of their class and are reasonable if you are struggling.

The list could go on forever, and that doesn’t take into account those teachers who are a combination of multiple styles, like the overshare/caffeine junky/skatterbrain, or the coach/permanent sub combo that is the stuff of nightmares.

The truth is that there are as many types of high school teacher as there are teachers, because after all, teachers are people, and people are unique and also uniquely annoying. If you are frustrated that your teacher is absent-minded, chances are they are equally frustrated about that. Like any other human, each teacher has strengths and weaknesses. Like other humans, high school teachers are all different from each other, and not all of them are bad. Unfortunately, not all of their teaching styles are going to line up with your learning style, and some don’t even come close!

So what to do? It’s difficult not to be critical of the high school teacher who can’t seem to figure out how to teach you, or who has an annoying habit that distracts you during class. The bad news is that being critical is bad for your education. Research shows that mental barriers (whether they are linked to motivation, distrust of an instructor, or any other reason) actually inhibit learning in certain areas. This can seem like a problem without solution, because school is already hard enough without having to be careful not to let weird teaching styles irritate you.

Luckily, you have options. Online Education offers you the chance to receive a quality, accredited education at home, where your primary instructor is your parent and the online teachers who make it a point to focus on you individually. Don’t let your education suffer because you can’t handle a teacher’s teaching style. Check out Enlightium Academy today!

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