Is it a bad thing to be a "Nice Teacher"?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Just Ducky, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Just Ducky

    Just Ducky Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2013

    This is my 3rd year teaching and I work with several teachers who are flat out "mean and obnoxious" to students. I am shocked by what I hear and at times their tone of voice scares me - so I can't imagine how a child would feel. I always treat my students like my kids - and I know the kids feel happy & safe to come to school. I have had parents tell me that their son/daughter used to fake their sickness last year because they didn't want to go to school and now in my class they can't wait to go to school. They appreciate my positive attitude. I would be described as a calm and nurturing teacher. I tend to have the more sensitive/emotional students. I believe in recess, fun and play let kids be kids - and I work them hard in class so I try to balance it with fun activities.
    My issue is I have other teachers who are upset with me because I have a positive relationship with my students and I am making them look like the bad guys. I believe in never yelling because I am the role model. Kids mess up and learn from their mistakes - and I am very understanding of that. They have rules and consequences - but I use positive discipline. The parents appreciate that and are always supportive. The issue is that the other 3rd grade teacher(there is only 2 of us) has parents complaining about how strict she is and they want their child in my class. I know this can't be possible as I am already at 34 but she is so upset that this is happening and she says it's because I am not strict enough and therefore I make her look bad. Well, I am just thinking of leaving this school next year - I don't know what else I can do. I am not changing my ways-that's for sure - I am very calm and that is just my personality- but it is unnecessary stress that I have to put up with from the other teachers. Sorry for rambling on and on...just needed to vent :) Any thoughts?
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Nov 21, 2013

    I think every teacher has their own style. I don't see why another teacher should care how you run your classroom, unless it is actively impacting their job (which I can't see how it would be). My style is like yours, and I work with a teacher like the one you described; there are positives to both. I think it is harder for kids to flip flop between people who are on two different sides of the spectrum than to be with a teacher who is either way. In my opinion, consistency is what matters the most.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 21, 2013

    I'm fair, fun and firm. I'm nice but not a pushover. We have fun but we aren't silly.
     
  5. Just Ducky

    Just Ducky Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2013

    I'm not a pushover either and hold kids accountable for their behavior - the issue is this is a veteran teacher who is upset because all of the parents are piling in the office wanting to switch their child into my class claiming she is too strict. She is insulted, of course. And she is giving me the cold shoulder - no discussions or talks or any sharing of ideas. It really is terrible to have no one to talk to!
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 21, 2013

    Are you feeling guilty about this situation, Just Ducky? It sounds to me like you are doing a good job with the kids- they are learning and you do not have to resort to fear and intimidation to make them behave.

    I also don't think that you should up and leave the school just because a teacher is jealous. Just stay focused on your kids and your job. And then bluntly, but politely explain to her that we all have our different classroom management styles and what works for one teacher won't work for another and that your methods are working just fine for you. :D
     
  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Nov 21, 2013

    If the teacher is abusive mentally or physically she needs training and, if it continues, removed from teaching. Moving kids can get out of hand once it starts which avoids the real problem.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2013

    I try very much to be the teacher I would want my own kids to have.

    That means I'm friendly with my kids, but they know there are lines they simply don't cross. It means mistakes are OK, but unkindness towards their friends isn't.

    Your coworkers should be upset that a teacher is so mean that her students want out of her class... particularly kids as young as 3rd graders.
     
  9. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 22, 2013

    I don't think there's anything wrong with being a ''nice'' teacher as long as you aren't a pushover and are able to reign the class back in when needed. My first couple years I was unable to do the latter. I'm a lot wiser now and though there are times I'm sure I come across ''mean'' in the childrens eyes, I feel like deep down kids know the difference between when you're being ''mean'' because you care about them and when you're being mean because you're a bully.

    That's why when someone gets into trouble, after they're disciplined I explain to them ''You're in timeout because you were running with scissors. you could have stuck someone and hurt them or even yourself. That's not being safe''.

    I worked with a Bully Teacher like the one you described and though parents werent asking for a transfer, she began to be resentful and mean toward me because of the repor I developed w/kids in my grade. It hurt because she was my team leader and wouldn't collab w/me anymore or speak to me in the hallway.

    so I began to depend on help from the K and 2nd grade teachers and myself. It was awkward, but I got through it and you will too.

    Because I like to know that I tried my best, in your situation I probably would speak to this other teacher once away from school about the tension and see if u guys can come to a resolution. if she acts like a tool, then i'd leave her alone and seek collaboration elsewhere
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 22, 2013

    Being nice is not a bad thing as long as the students aren't taking advantage of you. In my previous district, I had positive relationships with all my students plus ones that were not SPED. It was a small school district so we became family. Even though I'm no longer in that district, I still go to the football games to see my boys play.
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 22, 2013

    You sound like you're doing everything right to have a positive, supportive learning environment. There is no reason why you should deliberately be mean to your students simply to mollify another teacher. It would confuse and probably undermine your students and their learning. Do you have a curriculum specialist or someone else who can fill in the gap with collaboration?
     
  12. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Nov 22, 2013

    I could have written your post prior to this year. My coworkers realized this year that we are all different and we all have our own styles. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that we put the children first.

    What caused the change? Someone criticized us as a grade level. You know the old saying about you can say what you want about your brother, but nobody else better look at him crossed eyed? That is what kicked in in our situation. The negative teacher in our group has become much more human and kind.

    There is hope. Just go in, do your job, and hold your head high. It will all be well.:)
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 22, 2013

    I must admit that I am often bummed by how some colleagues speak to students. Soooo often there is zero warmth. A couple always seem bored or annoyed. I don't even know how it's possible to be so harsh and business-like with young children.
     
  14. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Nov 22, 2013

    I don't think that would be a means to leave the school, but I am not in your situation. It sounds like you are doing a beautiful job and whatever you are doing, keep doing it. I had a partner who is a lot like you and she is a wonderful teacher and I respect her for that. I am firmer that she is, but we both give our children our all. My children tells me often how they love being in my class, how much fun we have, and most parents appreciate me. Don't let anyone steal your joy. Enjoy your children and as someone else stated, "Hold your head up high and keep going."
     
  15. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Nov 23, 2013

    Ducky, I have received my fair share of criticism for being too warm, too fuzzy, having too many colors in my classroom, too much laughter, too many treats, etc.

    My advice? People do not admire people who are mean or overly harsh. Kids respond better to warmth, empathy, and kindness, just like most people.

    In life we have opposition. There will always be another teacher or maybe a group putting you down because you choose to do things differently. You sound like your methods have been successful; well, this probably angers them even more.

    If it's not broke, don't fix it. If your attitude and demeanor ("niceness") is working for you, there is no reason for you to feel guilty. You should only feel guilty if you've done something wrong. It sounds like you are obviously doing something right and the kids love your class. Sounds like a blessing!

    Don't worry about others. Just do you.
     
  16. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Nov 23, 2013

    Superb advice!

    One year I tried to be too much like my colleague (she is an awesome teacher!). It didn't work for me. I felt way out of my skin and the kids could sense that, too. When I finally relaxed and did things my way the year went much better.

    You are an effective, engaging teacher who's students feel safe and cared for. You have NOTHING to feel guilty about!
     
  17. OhThePlaces

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    Nov 23, 2013

    I team teach with someone like your co-worker. I teach ELA, she teaches math and science. We switch half-way through the day. She has been teaching for a long time and is very "old school"... I have high expectations and my students have consequences, but we also have fun... We do brain breaks, I make then feel safe to ask questions... I know she gets frustrated that I don't have the same style, especially when we have parents in PT conferences who will openly tell us that "little Johnny loves Ms. OhThePlaces' class, but he says that Ms. Team Teacher yells a lot." I think she does a GREAT job of teaching her material, she just doesn't have any fun doing it. I also *think* that she has come to understand that my style works well for me.

    I have a young child of my own and she's told me before that when she had young children at home, she was also more "mommyish" at school (like me)." I hope I'm always warm and fun!
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    There is nothing wrong with what you are doing. You know yourself and what works for your students. The 2 most important things I've learned in teaching are:

    1. The recipe for success is to be yourself.
    2. The recipe for failure is to try to please everyone.
     
  19. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Nov 23, 2013

    :wub: Love this
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nice can be a relative term. If you're nice, and the students like you, like your classes, feel safe around you, etc, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being nice.
    If you're nice in a way that students know you won't follow through, they can walk over you and you're afraid to hold them accountable, then it is wrong.

    I think the younger the children, the better it is to have a nice, warmer personality. (or course, still firm and consistent). There is just no need to be overly strict or harsh, and act like a sergeant.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Nov 23, 2013

    I wouldn't leave a job over something like this, by any means.

    But... we are only hearing your side of the story. You say you are being warm and fuzzy. You coworker might describe the situation differently.

    I will openly admit that teachers that are pushovers do upset me. It isn't as simple as saying I should just worry about what happens in my classroom. I teach high school and my students see other teachers throughout the day. When the other teachers allow students to text in class, wear inappropriate clothing, listen to music, etc., it does make my job harder. It does take time away from my instruction. When other teachers hand out grades like candy, giving students B's when their highest test grades are in the 50s, it makes it difficult for me when admin and parents demand to know why students do worse in my class than others. When I expect work to be done outside of class and students can ignore homework for other teachers, it is frustrating.

    All of these things define a "nice" teacher at my school. I can be calm, caring and involved, but for some students, if I am strict, I am mean.
     
  22. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Building a positive relationship with your students is vital to student success. You can be firm and fair without being mean. As long as you are being clear and consistent with expectations and consequences, then you should be fine. I am nice to my students and I don´t consider that a bad thing. They trust me and work hard for me. If a child is not comfortable in his or her learning environment then he or she will likely not learn, or at least not learn to his or her full capacity. I think it´s so important to create and maintain a positive classroom climate where student learning can and does happen. I also don´t understand the mindset that a teacher should be mean. To me that just doesn´t make sense and I would not feel comfortable if my own daughter had a teacher who was mean to her.
     
  23. PinkCupcake

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    Ducky, it sounds like you and I could be twins. :)
    My advice would be to close your door and teach. I know it's easier said than done but who cares what that other teacher thinks? You should be the best teacher you can for your students, not a teacher someone else wants you to be.
     
  24. Just Ducky

    Just Ducky Rookie

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    Nov 27, 2013

    Thank you all! I was really strict, didn't smile at all for a week...the kids sensed something was wrong. I felt so bad and honestly, it accomplished absolutely nothing. Well, I can't teacher like that anymore. I have my own style and lets just say the kids are happy to have their fun, enthusiastic teacher back!!! I've decided I'm just going to deal with the other teacher and ignore it...after all, it's all about the kids :) Thanks for your advice!!
     
  25. amethyst

    amethyst Companion

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    Nov 27, 2013

    I am student teaching and have been thinking about this, too. I had a CT who specifically told me to "get mean!" I am not mean! I was very happy to observe in a classroom yesterday with a teacher who was very warm, nice, and caring.... and the student were clearly learning a lot and the class was very well-managed, so that was my answer right there!
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 28, 2013

    Could she have meant "Get serious" or "Get consistent"???

    My kids have a lot of fun in my classroom. I think they would all agree that I'm "nice." But I'm no pushover. We work a LOT-- and laugh a lot.

    But I think maybe the point that she was trying to make is that the kids have to know, without a doubt, that beneath that nice exterior is steel. That you mean what you say, and that you will not be their punching bag-- literally or figuratively. Because if they don't respect you, and won't listen to you, then it doesn't matter how good a teacher you are. No one will hear you.

    If your CT wanted you to change your behavior, it's possible that you're leaning in that direction, and that the kids are taking advantage of your "niceness." Perhaps you need more consistency in administering consequences?
     

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