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Pre-service teacher candidates (n=688) voluntarily responded to the open-ended question: List the characteristics that you think are important for a mathematics teacher [in elementary school] to have. The most frequently-cited characteristic was ‘patience,’ with ‘knowledge of mathematics content’ next, followed (in alphabetical order) by creative, enthusiastic, effective instruction, flexible instruction, and understanding (that not all students learn the same way). These data suggest that candidates are developing a sense of themselves as professionals with a growing understanding that content knowledge as well as relationships with students are needed for effective teaching.