How to increase popularity with students?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Rex2011, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. Rex2011

    Rex2011 Rookie

    Oct 11, 2015
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    Mar 11, 2016

    I've had a rough to okay first few years of teaching, but made it to the point where I am starting to feel more confident and successful at instruction and delivery. However, during these first few years, I have not had much success in being popular. In other words, the general population of the student body doesn't like me! I had an issue last year where a (popular) student got mad at me for not allowing her to go to he bathroom and it went down hill from there. She got her friends to turn on me and I am sure that these ramifications have fueled my low popularity as a teacher at our school. I still have students that seem to not like me for any reason... but other than what happened to me last year, it seems that way.

    I was covering for another teacher today, and many of the students he has now are my former students. Only two acknowledged me when I entered the room; and when I left, none said good bye. When my relief came, she was welcomed by almost all the students.

    I try to be warm, encouraging, and understanding with my students, but for some that isn't enough. They still want to be my enemies, no matter what I do. I know I can't be cool and of course I know I can't be their friend, but I would also like to have a higher level of popularity than what I have (it is my wish). Any suggestions?

    Thanks and enjoy your Friday!
  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    May 8, 2008
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    Mar 11, 2016

    Start with your own classroom. Get to know them and let them get to know YOU. Talk with your students as they walk in the room (stand in the doorway if possible) and find out what they're really about. You might find ways to relate to them on a non-academic level. It may not be successful at first, and it may be something you need to start next year at this point, but it can happen.
  4. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Sep 7, 2010
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    Mar 11, 2016

    What I have learned over time is that kids are less drawn to "cool" than they are to sincerity, warmth, enthusiasm, and caring. They need to know you care about them. You can start to show this just by being there in the doorway (like Cat suggested) with a warm smile, a hello, and saying their names -- it helps to know their names as soon as possible. Everyone loves to be noticed -- notice something about a kid and ask questions about it -- even something as small as their shoes, or their t-shirt. Let them know you notice them and care enough to ask them about their interests and their lives.

    Next, kids are curious to know more about us. Try to work in little tidbits about yourself while you are delivering content. I teach a world language, and I try to weave in bits of my own story of how I learned the language, things I struggled with and how I overcame them, what my experiences traveling abroad have been like, etc. Don't go overboard with the personal details, but let them into your world a bit and they will start to see you as you, not a teaching robot that spews senseless (to them) information.

    It takes a while to find yourself as a teacher -- I am still working on it after going on a decade now in various settings!
    Wonderer and WonderW05 like this.
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Aug 8, 2005
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    Mar 11, 2016

    I'm the furthest thing from cool, but I have strong relationships with my students. They learn, early on, that I care about them as people and that goes a long way. I listen as they are talking to each other and ask them about sports, dance, music, movies, and even have them try to explain their video games to me! Let yourself be you, not what you think a "teacher" needs to sound like.
    futureteacher13 likes this.
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Feb 4, 2010
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    Mar 11, 2016

    As others suggested, it's really not about being cool, but being likeable. First and foremost, no teacher will be liked by all students, and that's ok. At my school my P said every teacher is equally loved and hated. One kid might like me and dislike another teacher, and vice versa, due to our personalities, teaching style, discipline style, etc. Sometimes a kid might hate me because I'm a female and his mom verbally and otherwise abused him and all females remind him of her.

    What you can do is be consistent with your approach (routines, discipline, when you say you will do something, follow through) because students will feel safe that way. If you're unpredictable, they won't know what to expect and they won't feel safe or trust you.
    Be welcoming, kind, and sincere. No reason to be friendly, or joking.
    And don't take offense for them to act one way with another teacher and differently with you. They might even kow it bothers you and doi it on purpose.
    Peregrin5 likes this.
  7. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Jan 26, 2012
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    Mar 11, 2016

    I think a good sense of humor goes a long way. I make corny jokes all the time that make my kids roll their eyes, but they know they love it.
    MrsC likes this.
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Aug 25, 2011
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    Mar 12, 2016

    If you're trying to be warm, encouraging, and understanding, that is enough. You don't have to get the kids to like you. You're their teacher, and your job is to help them learn and provide a safe learning environment, not be liked. If you really are warm, encouraging, and understanding, many will naturally begin to take with you, even if it's only a few.

    In fact, it's likely, the more you try, the less you will be liked. We have teachers who try to be the "cool" teachers at our school. Kids see through them immediately. They may act friendly with these teachers and joke around with them, but they tell me about how weird it is that they try so hard, and that they don't really like them as teachers.

    Just be there. Welcome kids to come in at lunch to ask you questions, and chat with them a few seconds before class ends or after class ends. Ask about them. If you ask them questions about their lives they see that you're interested in them as people, and are more likely to share without prompting next time. That's really all you need to do to foster popularity. Don't try to be popular, do your job as a teacher well, and listen to kids.
  9. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

    May 19, 2012
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    Mar 14, 2016

    I was fairly introverted when I was in school. I knew immediately I was not going to be the "wild and crazy teacher" when I started teaching. Instead my persona is the young teacher who is firm but also personal. I always project that I'm having a good day, I tell stories about my experiences, and I make sure that I am always listening to their stories as well. I make sure I know what my students like/dislike and I try to ask them about their extracurricular activities and even attend them when I can.(mostly sports and band) If you asked my students about me they would probably call me a dork, but they also respect me because I try to understand them.
    Wonderer likes this.

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