The purpose of the study was to investigate the role of emotional intelligence in the classroom teaching practice of high performing high school mathematics teachers. The study was qualitative in design as it aimed at obtaining opinions and behaviours of the teachers in school, given the fact that they are subjected to the classroom situation and at the same time are expected to treat learners with compassion. Data was collected qualitatively by means of semi-structured interviews. I sampled five mathematics teachers from five high schools in Pretoria, Gauteng. Content analysis, which involves analysing qualitative data through summaries and data interpretation, was employed. The findings from the data analysed, revealed that emotional intelligence in the classroom plays a major role in dealing with, or addressing, the day-to-day challenges faced by teachers in the classroom. The findings also revealed that teachers must have certain skills in order to ensure that learners cope with classroom pressure and challenges. Creating or passing on values such as trust, self-respect and confidence to learners, is not an easy task however. There are those learners that can’t cope with mathematics and giving them all the necessary support and instilling these kinds of values, was discovered to play a pivotal role to teachers in the classroom practice. Having positive relationships between teacher and learner, may enhance a learner’s performance, thereby benefiting not only the learner but also the school and the community.