In A teacher's heart speaks on the first day of school from Cool Cat Teacher Blog by firstname.lastname@example.org , Victoria A Davis shares,
“Do students think you "like" them? This seems odd but students really want to know if you like them. Are you going to be fair? Are you going to give them a chance? They love you if you express an interest in something they love”
I know that many times we think that our students don’t have to like us; they just need to learn from us. As mentioned in a previous post, students will learn in spite of us. Of course, the learning is easier if they like us.
I have learned that I don’t have to be the prettiest or the youngest teacher students know. I don’t have to be cool for them to like me. I believe the most important thing for students is that I really care. They see that I care about being a teacher and have a passion for what I teach. They see that I really care about them as students and that I truly want them to learn. They see that I care about them as a person and not just some statistic on a piece of paper. They see that I care about the quality of what I teach and I’m not just there for the pay check.
I don’t have to be their friend because they have enough friends. I believe that students are looking for leadership in a teacher. They want someone who will lead them to an exciting learning adventure. They don’t want someone who is not in control because they have enough uncertainty in their lives. They want someone who is a steady force of nature in their lives. As a leader, I need to show them that I can control my own emotions, be a good role model, and be knowledgeable in what I say and do. I don’t have to know everything but I must know how to help them find the information they need.
Students need to know that I can be fair. Nothing is worse than feeling that a teacher has favorites or that rules only apply to some of the students. I’d like to think that no teacher is this way but unfortunately I have been in classes where I’ve seen this myself. I know what it is like to feel that the teacher doesn’t like me or that I’m not one of the favorites. That is the class that I didn’t like the most and the class where I don’t think I learned as much as I could have or needed to.
I’m not even sure that “like” is the right word. Of course there are times that the students won’t like me. There will be assignments they don’t want to do. There will be grades that they earn that they won’t like. There will be times when everyone is in a bad mood and no likes anyone at that time. There will be times that my students will be angry with me and I will be angry with them and “like” isn’t in our vocabulary at that time.
Maybe “respect” is the better word. Of course respect is more from the teacher’s point of view. Students will always hope that the teacher “likes” them! As a teacher, I need to respect every student. I need to respect their individual interests and abilities. I need to respect each student by treating everyone fairly. I need to respect every student by not having “favorites” and treating some students differently than others.
So if my students see my respect as my way of “liking” them, then that is what I need to do. I want to make their learning easier and enjoyable.
How do you show your students you like them? Is this important or not? Please share.