Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Mathematics is recognized as an area in which we see significant teacher shortages at both the middle and secondary school level. The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify personality characteristics of six mathematics teachers by interviewing those teachers and having them relate traits they perceived in themselves that helped them teach effectively.

The study’s participants were in-service teachers currently practicing in public school settings in North Dakota. Two teachers from the pool of potential participants were chosen for their certification at each of the following grade levels: elementary, secondary, and dual certification in elementary and secondary education. Both of the dually certified teachers were teaching at the secondary level.

The following three themes were developed from analysis of the interviews of six mathematics teachers. Theme one: certain personality characteristics contribute to positive learning environments for students. Theme two: certain teaching methods encourage students to take responsibility for their learning. Theme three: role models, favorite teachers, family, and/or coaches influenced the teachers' decision to make mathematics teaching their career choice. Recruiting efforts to find more mathematics teachers to address shortages would be greatly enhanced by identifying students with an aptitude in mathematics and comparing their personal characteristics with those self-identified by selected mathematics teachers.