7 Types of Students in Class

Image result for students
Source: Inside Higher Ed.

Hello, folks!

So having been a teacher for several years now, I can say that I’ve had plenty of experiences dealing with all sorts of different students. From the good to the bad, I’ve had them all. While at times many of them make me want to pull my hair out in frustration, there are also those who still give me hope for the future. I guess dealing with students is the same as dealing with people at work or in public: you won’t like all of them, and likewise they won’t all like you, too. It’s mutual.

However, when it comes to specific types and personalities, there are so many various ones. At least for the sake of this post, I’ll narrow it down to the seven common types of students I’ve encountered in my teaching career, some of which I can even relate to when I was a student (years ago…). Any case, let’s get down to it!

7 Types of Students in Class

1. The Shy One.

I have had A LOT of these students over the years of teaching. Admittedly, I was shy back in school, so I can relate. However, as I grew older and actually became a teacher, it’s interesting seeing shy students from another perspective: not only can it be challenging to get them to talk, but being shy also implies lack of effort. While that might not necessarily be the case, it’s frustrating all the same, because shyness won’t get you far in this extrovert-built society. Sure, it’s endearing, but to a certain extent.

2. The “IDGAF.”

Whether they always have their phones out or just goofing off with their friends in class, these students are the bane of my existence. They don’t care about school, and they especially don’t care about respecting the teacher, let alone their classmates. I’ve gotten a few sour apples like the “IDGAF” over the years, although rarely are they full-blown nihilists. Usually, it’s a touch of IDGAF, which is borderline frustrating. Sometimes, it’s nothing personal, but it really does make teaching a chore.

3. The One Who Always Participates.

Ah, the dreaded questions…and the dreaded silence you get from 24 pairs of blinking eyes. Here comes the student who raises their hand to participate…and saves the day! Whether the answer is right or not, it doesn’t matter, because what does matter is that someone actually took the leap and participated. Besides doing well on tests and classwork, it’s equally important to contribute knowledge to the class: it’s about knowing your opinion, and growing from that. “The One who Participates” is a savior to all, teacher and students alike– gotta love them!

4. The Lost One.

I teach English as a Foreign Language abroad, so it’s not a surprise to have plenty of these types of students. From staring blankly at me to constantly “huh-ing?” about, I feel really bad for these students, since they clearly have no idea what to do, let alone do the activity correctly. What’s even more unfortunate is that they don’t even have the courage to ask me for help, instead relying on their classmates (who understand me) for help, or just suffer in silence. I can only help so much, and it’s a matter for them to pull through during the semester.

5. The Class Clown.

I have a love-hate relationship with these types of students, but more so on the unfavorable side. It’s not like I don’t have a sense of humor, but the classroom setting isn’t really the place to joke around, especially constantly. I can appreciate a bit of corny humor here and there, but if it becomes a huge distraction, then I can’t tolerate it. These students also tend to be rather energetic and also difficult to control, which I’m not about that. Particularly if the joking is directed for the student’s pleasure, and not necessarily mine, I don’t like that.

6. The Wallflower.

Similar to the shy student, the wallflower pretty much disappears into their seat during every class time. They’re also the ones who I take a bit longer to get to know their names, since they never speak up or even seem to stand out from the sea of faces. Likewise, I was both a shy and wallflower student throughout most of my primary and secondary school years, but I realized that it wasn’t beneficial in going places in life if I continued staying as such. It takes a lot of courage to stand out in a crowd, but it’s rewarding in the end.

7. The Model Student.

You could say that this type of student encompasses the one who participates in class (#3). But you could also go even further and say that they 1) work hard, 2) take responsibility, 3) not joke around (too much), and 4) know what they’re doing. They know their purpose, and that’s to be a student who wants to pass the class and, in the end, graduate from school. I LOVE this type of student, and it’s a shame that there not as many of them as teachers would want to have– best way is just to cherish the ones we already have!


…and that’s about it! Let me know what types of students you are/were, or have in the classroom. Feel free to add any more student types to the list, as I’m sure there are more! Have a good day otherwise. 🙂

— The Finicky Cynic

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2 thoughts on “7 Types of Students in Class

  1. Ciara's palette

    I was a shy/wallflower student and you are so right. As a student, it doesn’t feel like a big deal, but as a teacher it’s so frustrating and challenging because they get completely overshadowed and end up relying on anyone else to jump in and be active (that’s how I was haha). I had classes made up of mostly shy students and others made up of mostly “participate a lots”, and the latter is far more easier even though it’s more energetic and can be overwhelming. At least I can get a good idea that they are indeed learning or paying attention. In my case, the older the students got, the more shy they became which I guess comes with developing a self esteem and losing that childlike fearlessness where you don’t care if you’re wrong or make a mistake. I totally understood why teachers had favorites because the model student saves the day and makes you feel like you actually helped students learn something.

    I can only think of one other type of student: the bargaining student. This student thinks that candy, being extra nice to the teacher, or bargaining will help them get a better grade or excuse bad behavior. Had multiple students like that and they were a handful!

    1. rebbit7

      Couldn’t have written it better! Likewise, I’ve also had bargaining students, but they were more of the complaining type than actual bargain. Always made excuses for not doing classwork, skipping class, etc. They’re the worst, and I wish they could just disappear!

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