Finding the right balance between disciplinarian and friend is sometimes a hard task for teachers. If you are too relaxed, the students will take control of the classroom. However, being too strict will cause them to rebel. Here are some steps you can take to find the correct balance and improve student and teacher relationships.
- Don't try to be their best friend. While it is good to have a positive relationship with your students, you are the authority figure and you need to act like it to garner the respect you deserve. By trying too hard to be their friend, you send a signal that it's okay to treat you like they treat their friends. This probably is not what you really want. It may be hard to discipline the students if they are used to palling around with you.
- Don't be a task master. The Authoritarian teaching style is one of the least effective according to most research. If you are too busy yelling or being stern, you miss many opportunities to listen and earn respect. No one really wants to be that teacher all the students fear. Stick to your guns, but don't be totally inflexible.
- A little small talk goes a long way. Greet your students at the door and ask them how their day is going. This technique only works if you are sincere when you ask. Make them feel like you really do care about them.
- Smile at them and actually listen. Eye contact is a great way to show them that you respect them and their respect for you will grow as well. When you are talking with a student, put all other things aside to let them know that what they have to say is important to you.
- Respect is reciprocal. You may think that being a teacher automatically means the students must respect you and your ways. This couldn't be farther from the truth. While it would be ideal, you need to earn the respect of your students just as you respect them if they earn it as well.
Teachers and students have a give and take relationship that needs constant work. Start with respect and work on the rest as you go. That balance between friend and authority figure is a thin line, but it is possible with a positive attitude and patience.