Fans of the Naruto franchise know that each shinobi team in training is assigned their own sensei to help them build their skills. Those aren’t the only teachers they have though. Amongst the Konoha 11, especially, there were quite a few teachers who worked with the different teenagers as their skills grew throughout the series.
In addition to their sensei, some team members had specialized mentors. Naruto himself had different people assigned to help him utilize and master his tailed-beast skills. Even Ino received some specialized training from one of her peers. Ultimately, the growth of Konoha 11 shows just how important of a role teachers play in the story.
10 Yamato Is More Of A Safety Precaution Than A Teacher
Yamato is brought in after it’s clear that Naruto can’t entirely keep the nine-tailed fox inside of him at bay. He takes over as the sensei for the incarnation of Team 7 that includes Naruto, Sakura, and Sai.
The trouble is that Yamato doesn’t do a whole lot of teaching in that time. Instead, he’s there because he knows a technique to help lock Naruto and Kurama’s power back up. While Team 7 is training, Yamato spends most of the time standing nearby as a safety precaution. He might be a strong shinobi with the rare gift of Wood Release, but his time isn’t really invested in the skills of the team as a whole. His main focus is on making sure Naruto doesn’t lose control.
9 Anko’s Teaching Role Is Limited
Anko is a former pupil of Orochimaru’s and one of the shinobi who proctors the Chunin Exams, but she doesn’t actually spend a lot of time teaching the students she’s supposed to work with. As someone responsible for making sure the next generation of shinobi is ready, she spends an awful lot of time judging them rather than helping them improve.
It doesn’t do her any favors that most of her time in the anime is devoted to filler arcs that expand her backstory but don’t paint a flattering view of her as a teacher. Though her backstory is expanded, she doesn’t teach the students who accompany her on the missions much at all.
8 Kurenai Is Very Supportive, But Her Skills Aren’t Showcased
The anime audience is told repeatedly that Kurenai excels in genjutsu and that she’s even the best in the village. It’s odd then that none of her students appear to be particularly great at it. Hinata is able to see through genjutsu with the help of her Byakugan, but Team 8 has very different skills from Kurenai all around.
One of the best things Kurenai does during her time as sensei to Kiba, Shino, and Hinata, however, is offering them unconditional support. Kurenai takes Hinata under her wing when her father effectively disowns her. He doesn’t think Hinata is worthy of shinobi training because she’s not aggressive enough, but Kurenai encourages Hinata to stick with it and makes sure she isn’t killed in the Chunin Exams.
7 Sakura Is An Inexperienced Teacher But Wants To Help Her Friend Out
Audience members might forget that it’s not just the adults who act as teachers to the Konoha 11. Sakura accidentally gains herself an apprentice while she’s studying medical ninjutsu under Tsunade.
Ino is inspired by Sakura’s desire to do something to ensure the safety of their comrades during dangerous battles, so she asks Sakura to teach her the same skills Sakura learns from Tsunade. While the audience doesn’t get to see much of that in action, Ino clearly learns a lot from Sakura despite the latter’s inexperience as a teacher, and it’s enough to join her friend in opening hospitals for children after the Fourth Shinobi World War is over.
6 Tsunade Trusts Sakura To Train On Her Own
Tsunade isn’t the most patient of people, and that can translate to her teaching style a bit. Though she teaches her assistant and Sakura, the audience only gets to see her interact with Sakura.
In the few cases the audience sees Sakura’s training, Tsunade will give Sakura all the instructions before leaving Sakura to master the skills on her own. While it might appear that Tsunade isn’t devoting her time to her student, it does show she trusts Sakura to get to the next step once she’s given an explanation. It’s also reflective of Tsunade’s busy schedule and responsibilities as Hokage.
5 Jiraiya Has A Unique Approach To Teaching
The audience gets to see Jiraiya train quite a few people through flashbacks, but most of that time is devoted to training Naruto. He certainly has a unique style, one that usually frustrates Naruto more than it helps him since some of Jiraiya’s worst traits emerge while teaching.
Jiraiya leaves Naruto alone for days at a time when teaching him the Rasengan. He also steals Naruto’s money for his own use. Despite that, his style gets through to Naruto. Naruto has a lot of power but not always a lot of focus, so Jiraiya helps him work on that.
4 Guy Is An Inspirational Teacher To Rock Lee, Neji, & Tenten
Might Guy has an enthusiasm for life that is only rivaled by his student Rock Lee. That enthusiasm, along with his ability to turn everything into a contest or a training opportunity, is inspirational to eager young ninja.
His students Tenten and Neji don’t seem as enthusiastic when it comes to his methods, but they still participate when encouraged and are formidable shinobi. It’s Lee who Guy inspires the most though. With no jutsu of his own, Lee is a lot like Guy, and Guy’s encouragement helps him become a fantastic fighter.
3 Asuma Plays To His Students’ Strengths
If there’s one teacher who truly understands what motivates his students, it’s Asuma Sarutobi. He knows to reward Choji for mastering difficult jutsu with food to replace the expended energy. He tolerates Ino’s sarcastic nature because he can see how much she truly cares about her teammates. He’s also the first person to realize just how smart Shikamaru is and uses games to strengthen his strategic mind.
Asuma doesn’t just teach his own team though. The audience also gets to see him work with Naruto. He manages to get Naruto to think about Wind Release differently than before, helping him to learn new uses for his abilities. He’s definitely one of the best teachers the teens have.
2 Kakashi Values Teamwork Above All
When Team 7 is first assigned to Kakashi, it seems like he doesn’t understand teenagers at all. He denies them lunch unless they can overcome his challenge. His methods are harsh, but he’s always fair, finding ways to encourage each of his students.
Kakashi truly excels in making his students understand that they can’t only rely on themselves. He fosters a sense of camaraderie amongst them, even if Sasuke temporarily runs from it. Kakashi forces Team 7 to rely on one another, building their trust and making them friends as well as formidable ninja.
1 Iruka Has The Most Unruly Students
Iruka tops the list of the Konoha 11’s best teachers for one simple reason: he has to teach them long before they’ve actually mastered any skills. It’s only after Iruka has already taught them the basics that the Konoha 11 become part of any shinobi teams and begin their days as genin.
Iruka has to make sure a bunch of very young children are able to learn how to use a variety of weapons and jutsu, make proper fighting stances, and learn the history of the village. Iruka is a champion for getting kids involved in school before they’re even interested in the skills they’re learning.