By Angelica Bottaro
What Enneagram makes a good teacher?
Educators envision where their careers will go and how they'd like to mold learners' minds everywhere, even before getting into teaching. But if you've ever felt out of place or as if your efforts aren't exactly working out the way you'd hoped, you may be able to blame it on your Enneagram type.
The Enneagram system (famously created by the Enneagram Institute) tells a story of personality types. Each person fits into one of the nine categories. The categories describe your motivations and traits that help you succeed in this world. Because each person falls into one of the categories, if you know your specific type, you can use it to your advantage in your teaching career.
So, what Enneagram makes for a good teacher, and which ones would be better suited for other education professionals? Read on to find out.
People who fall under the Reformer category hold themselves—and others—to a wickedly high standard because they are often principled and perfectionistic. Other characteristics, such as rationality and discipline, play into their ability to set the bar as high as possible.
The Reformer isn't going to accept anything less than the best, and they'll work as hard as it takes to ensure they don't have to. Because of this, Reformers don't always make the best teachers. That isn't to say they can't be good at pushing their students to achieve success. It's just that they may not be as well-equipped to handle the inevitable struggle of some students based on their straight-to-the-point teaching style.
On the other hand, a school district leader matches perfectly with the problem-solving and meticulous Reformer. School district leaders manage the school system, and as people who hold purpose in high regard, they will implement new programs and policies with ease.
The Helper, much like its name, possesses generous and caring qualities. They are compassionate and show that they care through actions, not words. People in this category possess intuitive empathy, a genuine desire to connect with others, and a sunny disposition. They have big hearts and are not afraid to show it personally and professionally.
Because of their natural talent for caregiving, The Helper's personality matches up perfectly with both teacher and school guidance counselor positions. As a teacher, The Helper will uniquely demonstrate lessons, ensuring that every child in the classroom setting has a firm grasp of the subject. If any child doesn't, they will never be left behind to figure it out independently. The Helper wouldn't allow it.
Helper personalities match up with the school guidance counselor because they actively listen to their students' issues and genuinely care about helping them solve their problems. They will go above and beyond to ensure that each student feels seen and heard throughout their educational experience.
Special education is also a sweet spot for a Helper to land because of their genuine love and compassion for others. They always put their best foot forward for others, and students with special needs in the classroom benefit when there's a Helper in the room.
Success is the name of the Achiever's game. They are pragmatic when setting and meeting personal and professional goals. Typically, people who fall into this category reach a certain level of success because of their driven and adaptive nature. For example, if the Achiever hits a roadblock toward their goal, they won't simply abandon it. Giving up is not in their vocabulary. They solve the issue and continue to forge on.
The Achiever is well suited for the principal position in education because they will never settle for being in the same job for too long. They aced climbing the latter well before entering the professional world and won't stop until they've reached the top.
That isn't to say that an Achiever wouldn't fit as a teacher. With a competitive nature, an Achiever leading the classroom could make learning more fun by implementing lesson plans that feel like games. A Phys. ed teacher is the best fit. After all, nothing says healthy competition like organized sports.
Whatever type of teaching job won't matter, though, because their current position will always be just another rung on their ladder. After all, they have people to impress and can only show off their immense success once they've reached the top.
Being a part of the Individualist category can be challenging. People with this personality type are sensitive, temperamental, and strive for authenticity. In an already-molded world, breaking free from tradition isn't always easy. The Individualist can feel those restraints much more profoundly than most.
These people possess creative and artistic sides and are not too concerned with stability. They want to express themselves and will make monetary sacrifices to do so.
Because of that, the Individualist would be perfect for an art or music teacher. The flow of self-expression in the arts gives the Individualist a chance to make each class their own. Following a strict curriculum found in other subjects, such as math or science, can be a real downer for the expressive Individualist.
Teaching students with that same passion for the arts will help them feel connected to others. For this withdrawn personality type, that is a great way to break free from the isolation they can be prone to.
Just like the name suggests, the Investigator is curious. They want to know everything about everything. No topic is too small or banal. Intellectual by nature, the Investigator is often intense in their journey for information and takes pride in learning for life. As educators, these types fit best into the college professor category. That is because professors tend to see education differently and more fluidly.
The Investigator is the most likely to expand their horizons by getting certified to teach English as a Foreign language while also juggling other courses that have seemingly no connection. In their minds, there is infinite knowledge in the universe, and they want to know it all.
Do you hate change? You may be a Loyalist. People that fall into this Enneagram type tend to possess traits that keep them in the same place for a long time. They are highly committed to their choices. So much so that even if those choices are no longer making them happy, they have a hard time breaking free. Responsibility is the Loyalist's top priority, and you can hold this personality type to their word. Their word is their bond.
Because of a drive for a secure and constant lifestyle, Loyalists make great teachers. Being a teacher is a stable career path, and many in the position spend their entire careers in the same place teaching the same subjects. That would be a nightmare for other personality types like the Individualist. But not the Loyalist. Stability and sameness are their dreams come true.
Teaching certain subjects such as math, English, or History may be the best position for a Loyalist. Why? Because these subjects rarely change in time. You can't change the past, grammar rules will always apply, and equations are strictly unchangeable. The variability of other teaching positions could drive a Loyalist mad.
As a cheerleader for life, the Enthusiast will always be down to lift you up and keep things interesting. People with this Enneagram personality type are energetic, fun-loving, and thrive on spontaneity. Their lives are as exciting on the inside as on Instagram, and the Enthusiast wouldn't have it any other way.
Because they like to keep things fresh and exciting, a career in any education position may not be the best idea. Routine and the school system go hand-in-hand. Because of that, the Enthusiast would rather jump off a bridge with people they've just met (and are now best friends with) than fall into a pattern of repetition.
One teaching position that may work for the Enthusiast is online tutoring. While there is still some routine to it, being able to work from anywhere their laptop will go gives them both the stability of teaching and the freedom to explore.
The Challenger likes to dominate. Their off-the-charts confidence and decisive nature allow them to be the boss and rock the position. They are in tune with their power and yield at every opportunity. Don't be confused, though. The Challenger isn't an abusive leader. They simply know what they're capable of when leading a team.
Teaching young children is not the best position for the Challenger, but they may thrive in classrooms with older children and young adults. That is because those students begin to question lessons and formulate their own opinions. Extra-curriculars such as the debate team with high-school level children would be a perfect addition to their educational teachings because no personality type likes a good debate as much as the Challenger.
However, their assertive nature and desire to be the boss may derail their teaching career. It's okay, though. Because the Challenger, as the name suggests, doesn't mind solving problems and recalibrating. They will find a way to have the freedom that being the boss brings, whether it's the boss in their classroom or the boss of the entire school district.
The Peacemaker doesn't get bogged down by details. They are often easy-going and willing to quell any hostile confrontations thrown their way. They want to keep the peace. It's not like they don't care about wrongdoings. They know there's a resolution to every issue, and they'd like to get to it sooner rather than later.
Optimistic to their core, Peacemaker types genuinely believe in humanity's good. Even when the cynical naysayers of the world look at them like they're crazy, they hold their ground. A Peacemaker won't sacrifice or waver on their beliefs for anything.
Because of their innate ability of calm reassurance, they would make for a great K-12 teacher. Are kids getting bullied in the halls? They'll put a quick stop to that without having to be aggressive. Is there drama between seniors because they can't decide on a Prom theme? The Peacemaker is there to save the day. No disagreement is too small or large to sway the Peacemaker from taking action.
Peacemakers also make great school counselors because of their innate ability to stay positive in the face of adversity. No matter what happens, they're ready to jump head-first into someone else's problem with enthusiasm.
Enneagram for Teachers
Choosing your teaching position based on your Enneagram personality type is a great way to ensure that you'll thrive in more ways than one. You'll be good at your job, love what you do, and continue to change students' lives for the better.