15 Types of Teachers who have Taught you


The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward

I couldn’t have said it better. During your schooling years, you would have definitely come across many different types of teachers. Some of these teachers are the answer to your prayers, but some turn out to be your worst nightmares.

Eventually, you pull through the year only to meet brand new teachers the next. If you’re lucky, they might be the ones you like and if not, my condolences to you. We’ve compiled a list of 15 types of teachers you’ll find in Singapore and how you can deal with them. If you were my teacher and you’re reading this, please know that I still appreciate all that you’ve done for me. I love you all very much. Actually, only some of you. 


1. The Unhelpful One


These teachers amuse me. They never seem to help improve the existing situation. Let’s say you don’t understand how to solve a problem. They’ll tell you they’ve gone through it before and leave it at that. You don’t understand a certain theory. Google. You urgently need to go to the toilet. No, because it was break before their lesson and you should have gone then.

Defining Characteristics:


How to deal with one: I guess you can look super sorry so that they’d finally help you. Or not.


2. The Genius



If you’re super lucky, you’ll get a teacher who’s like THE smartest person ever. They know the answer to every single question and they actually know how to teach. They have all the facts you need at the back of their hands and you can’t help but marvel at their intellectual brilliance. 

You wish you could inherit their brains just for the exams, but tough luck. Life doesn’t work that way. 

Defining Characteristics: Walking encyclopaedia, Walking dictionary, Walking Google 

How to deal with one: Make sure to pay attention to them throughout the whole lesson. They might just say something mind-blowing that might be useful for the exam!


3. The Motherly One



The motherly teacher acts like your second Mom in school. They’ll feed you with lots of goodies and ensure that you’ve got everything under control. They make sure you behave well in school and will scold you if you don’t. They shower you with lots of love and they’re generous with their hugs. They’re basically my favourite type of teachers.

Defining Characteristics: Have students accidentally calling them Mom all the time 

How to deal with one: Just treat them like how you’d treat your biological mother. One day they’ll bake cookies and guess who gets to eat them? Yes, you! 


4. The Nice One



These are the ones who always understand your plight and never ever raise their voices at you. They realise that you have homework from other teachers and try not to add too much to the workload. They always encourage you to do better even if you’ve failed four tests in a row. 

They go all out to make sure you’ve understood everything. They never give up on you. But sometimes, we take advantage of their pleasantness resulting in them becoming The Strict One (see #7). 

Defining Characteristics: Always nominated for Caring Teacher Awards

How to deal with one: Appreciate them, don’t take them for granted because you don’t want to be the cause of them becoming The Strict One. 


5. The Tech-noob




These teachers are certainly not fans of technology. They may not be old, but they certainly can’t work that computer properly, much less the projector. They’ll always have to call on a student to help them set everything up and I don’t blame them. With the rapid advancement of technology these days, it’s hard to keep up with everything. It’s also pretty amusing to watch them struggle with things we usually find easy. 

Defining Characteristics: Would use the whiteboard most of the time, Needs an IT rep all the time

How to deal with one: It doesn’t hurt to lend a helping hand…even if you need time to giggle it all out first. 


6. Everybody’s Friend



These teachers are super friendly and act like they’re your age when truth is … they’re not. They blend in with the student body and sometimes, they let you call them by their first names. They’re extremely easy to talk to, especially if you have problems to share. Even better, you can tell them gossips about other students and they won’t tell any other teachers. 

Defining Characteristics: Always surrounded by a group of student-friends during lunch

How to deal with one: Best thing to do is to befriend them. You never know when you’ll need that extra listening ear…or extra testimonial. 


7. The Strict One


This teacher scares you. Slightly. You’re extra careful in their lessons, but you still use your phone anyway. I mean, who cares as long as you don’t get caught. You still get away with some of your mischief but when you do get caught, that’s it. 

If they catch you doing something wrong, this is probably their reaction:


Defining Characteristics: Will reprimand you once unless they’re in a bad mood then they’ll scold you till you pee your pants. 

How to deal with one: You can take your chances or choose to be a coward and back off. 


8. The Mega Strict One


This teacher terrifies you. A LOT. By that, you never want to be late for their lessons and you’ll never forget their homework because they will punish you, blacklist you and for the rest of the year, make sure you live in misery. They’re a ticking time-bomb, ready to explode at any second…

If they catch you doing something wrong, this is what they’ll probably do to you:


Defining Characteristics: Godzilla in disguise

How to deal with one: NEVER try anything stupid in their class unless you want to get thrown out of class or worse and suffer for the rest of your life!


9. The Monotonous Lecturer


These teacher lecturers will bore the wits out of you, literally. You sit in their lecture, but nothing seems to be going in your head no matter how hard you try. Their voices just keep droning on and on, there is no excitement in the air at all. You can’t help but to fall asleep and escape to Neverland. For those of you who have come across The Monotonous Lecturer or currently have them as your lecturer, I feel ya. Press on.   

Basically you in their lecture:



Defining Characteristics: Says everything in a single tone, even if it’s an exciting piece of news

How to deal with one: Drink lots and lots of coffee or if you’re not a fan of coffee, red bull will do.


10. The Rookie



These teachers are fresh graduates and are all so enthusiastic about teaching their first batch of students. They step into class brimming with joy but at the end of the year, they wish the ground would just open up and swallow them whole. Most students take advantage of The Rookie and only a select few of them would last the year. If you’ve survived Year 1 as The Rookie, congratulations! 

Defining Characteristics: Slightly shy, Cannot command attention well

How to deal with one: Always give new teachers a chance because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who are going to grade your assignments. 


11. The Fashionable One



Being a teacher isn’t all books and office attire. You can definitely spot the teachers who are secretly into fashion because their outfits are a-ma-zing. They’re into the latest trend and sometimes, they make you feel like a loser because all you’ve got is the school uniform. 

Defining Characteristics: They have clothes that you’d die for. 

How to deal with one: Take note of what they’re wearing so you can plan your future work outfits. 


12. The Slacker



These teachers never seem to mark anything. They pretend that they’ve read through all your essays but in reality, no. They just skim through it and put ticks at random. No comments, nothing.

Sometimes, they won’t even return you your work. Until now, I’ve still not gotten back my test paper from last May. And I’ve already graduated school. True story. 

Defining Characteristics: Takes 2 months to return you your assignment

How to deal with one: You can either 1) complain or 2) deal with it. I recommend you just deal with it because complaining won’t get you anywhere most of the time. 


13. The Clueless One



These teachers have no idea what they’re saying. They don’t really know what’s going on and they don’t really have a plan. They just hope you’re smart enough to study everything by yourself or dumb enough to let them off. 

Whenever you ask them a question:


Defining Characteristics: Tries to smoke their way through class

How to deal with one: If you’re smart enough to know they’re smoking their way, then try to do more independent learning. If not, good luck. 


14. The Crazy Test Setter 



Sometimes I wonder if these teachers are mean or just absolutely crazy. They set impossibly high standards for internal tests and exams that only 5% of the cohort will pass. No one gets an ‘A’ if they’re setting the papers and there’s no point in studying for their tests because you’re going to fail anyway.

Okay, fine. You should still study for it. But, brace yourself because all your efforts might amount to nothing. 

Defining Characteristics: 95% fail rate per class

How to deal with one: Study hard, work hard and one day, you might make it to the 5% who pass their tests.


15. The Passionate One


Once in a while, you’d stumble upon truly passionate teachers. They’re so dedicated to their work, they’ll reach school before 7am for early consults and leave at 9pm so students can meet them after school. They always give you extra practices and actually marks them diligently.

They make sure every student does well and will take it upon themselves to set extra lessons to help those who don’t. They believe in making a difference and not teaching for the sake of teaching. They’re the kind of teachers we need every day.

Just check out this spoken word poetry on what teachers make by Taylor Mali: 

Taylor Mali on
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Taylor Mali on "What Teachers Make"

Defining Characteristics: They don’t need to force a student to study hard, students will study hard because they don’t want to disappoint The Passionate One.

How to deal with one: Work super duper hard because if you fail, you’re just going to feel terrible.


Which teacher have you met?


Ta-da! There you have it, the 15 types of teachers you’ll find in Singapore. I’m sure you’ve met some of these teachers before. Though some teachers are a mixture of two or more of the types above, and some are none at all (unlikely), I hope you find this list useful.

Even if your teacher annoys you, do remember that they’re still your teacher after all and you’ll need to respect them. This means no talking back, no fighting and just don’t be mean in general. This article’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek so if you’re a teacher, please don’t be offended.

If you know of other types of teachers in Singapore, feel free to share them in the comments below! 

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