Research shows that a category of teacher skills called personal competencies has a powerful impact on teacher effectiveness. The foremost of these competencies is the teacher-student relationship. Evidence finds that teachers who create a positive relationship have a large effect on increased student achievement; they also have fewer discipline problems, office referrals, and related conduct issues. Qualities of a teacher’s personal competencies with the largest impact include being consistent, providing structure, having an assertive presence, showing empathy, exhibiting warmth, encouraging learning, setting high standards, being adaptable, displaying awareness of high-needs students, being culturally sensitive, and showing respect for students. It is important to understand that simply caring about students isn’t enough. A teacher who shows warmth but lacks the other qualities will founder. Establishing an effective teacher-student relationship requires a balance of these competencies. These skills do not necessarily come naturally to new teachers, who must be trained in their use. Many pre-service and in-service programs fail to emphasize the importance of these soft skills and to operationalize them and support teachers in using them in the classroom.