Are you intimidating?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TrademarkTer, May 21, 2018.

  1. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    May 21, 2018

    So this is a new one for my this year. I've been teaching for 6 years, and I haven't gotten this comment until this year.

    I've had 5 people this year tell me I'm intimidating. 2 were from teachers who were told this by shared students, 2 were directly from students, and one was from a parent. I have mixed feelings on it. On the one hand, I definitely prefer this perception than being perceived as someone who they can walk all over. On the other hand, it's not necessarily what I'm going for. In particular, the one parent told me her son was afraid to ask me questions since I'm intimidating lol. One student said I'm intimidating because of my size. Another student told their teacher that I'm intimidating because I'm smart and because I "never make mistakes". I'm not even sure that this perception is something I could change if I wanted to, but this could be part of why I don't have many classroom management issues to worry about.

    Have you been described as "intimidating" by students? Do you embrace it?
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    No. I wish I was actually.
     
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  4. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Even though I look like a monster, my students do NOT perceive me as intimidating. I am glad this is the case, because I want to create a positive and comfortable environment for all of my students. I do not know why I felt the need to share a little bit of my teaching philosophy..but ok.
     
  5. Camel13

    Camel13 Companion

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    May 22, 2018

    I feel intimidating but my students tell me I’m too nice. I wish I could figure out how to be more strict. It seems like a personality change I can’t make.
     
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  6. Lisabobisa

    Lisabobisa Comrade

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    Men call me intimidating, but my students do not. :D
     
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    May 22, 2018

    Nope. And I never want to be.

    I connect with students in a way such that I'm always a welcoming presence that they can trust and feel completely comfortable around, but have plenty of teacher looks (i.e. the "disappointed" look) that says 1,000 words to them non-verbally.
     
  8. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    May 22, 2018

    I will add to this that for every one "intimidating" comment I've gotten, I've gotten 10+ "best teacher ever" comments so it does balance itself out quite nicely.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2018

    Not in the least.
     
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm much more in the "approachable" category than "intimidating". Hoping that has less to do with my physical appearance (I'm 5'1" but most students know I have studied krav maga and karate) and more to do with how I interact with them.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I've not been told that by students, but I've been told that by coworkers and men I've dated. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Not a word I'd want someone to use to describe me. I've been called a lot of antonyms for the word intimidating, though.
     
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    No, I don't think I've ever been called intimidating by a student. Some of my colleagues have told me they were intimidated by me, until they worked with me and realized there was nothing to be afraid of. And just because I'm not intimidating doesn't mean people think they can walk all over me either. I'm firm and consistent with my students and their parents, but in the end, we all know we're on the same team, working towards the same goal.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    From several students word of mouth, I’m not intimidating because I am: 1) thin, 2) very young looking for my age (I’m 26), and 3) cute (shudders). A member of the baseball team even said that I’m a pushover because I’m so thin...

    What’s weird is that they say they don’t ever want to “piss me off” because I consistently enforce the school rules and will get them into trouble. What’s confusing is that this seems to be the exact opposite of a pushover.
     
  15. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    May 23, 2018

    SAME.
     
  16. rpan

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    I’ve had two students in my class tell another teacher I am intimidating and they were scared of not knowing the right answers when I asked a question because I knew all the answers to everything and my expectations are very high. But I’m normally quite an easy going person and I do have quite good relationships with students so I don’t know where that came from and I’m not sure I see it as a compliment.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 23, 2018

    Apparently I am. Coworkers tell me that they have to defend me to students and former students tell me they were scared of me in the beginning. Those students are usually telling me this as they come by to visit and get a quick hug/word of encouragement.

    I have high expectations for academics and very high expectations for behavior. I teach high school and I assume that my students have been taught how to behave in a classroom by now. So I don't beg students to do what is right or talk in a sing-song voice. I also don't believe that every redirection of behavior needs to be private. If a kid is publicly acting a fool, I will publicly call him out. I think what really makes me intimidating is that I nip every transgression in the bud immediately and once I've made my point I return to whatever I was doing without skipping a beat. Some kids have said that I seem a bit bipolar when I do that. They expect the teacher to be angry or frustrated when redirecting but I generally do not take misbehavior personally.

    By the end of the course I typically have classes that ask me to teach the next level course so they can take me again, so I'm not too concerned about those first impressions. I don't know if I embrace being intimidating, but what I'm doing works and feels natural so I'm not apt to change.
     

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