What are the qualities of a ‘good’ mathematics teacher? A group of 20 students in Year 6 were asked their opinions as part of a longitudinal study in NSW. The same study followed the students into the first two years of secondary school. The research identified the interpersonal teaching and learning relationships between teachers and students as the most important contributor to students’ engagement with maths. They engaged well when positive relationships with their teachers were in place, and when curriculum arrangements were conducive to those relationships. By contrast, it was difficult for students to remain engaged when they lacked positive interactions with teachers, even when the teaching was otherwise high-quality and was supported by innovative curriculum and school design.