You Want to be a Popular Teacher!? – Here are 24 Steps How to do it

Don’t you hate it when you get the feeling that your pupils don’t like you or have something against you? Here are some tips to get on their good side.

  1. Have a unique character. This normally only works if you’re new, but if you stick to a certain personality that may be mean/angry etc. You will gain respect for it, as long as you’re not unjust or act like you’re better than your students.
  2. Ask for a class opinion. Have a discussion with your class about what could make class more interesting, and what would help them. Remember that while you are in charge, everything you do is to try to teach them; so if they complain about something as a group, it’s worth looking into. The same things normally come up like listening to music, participation, and eating in class. Listen to their suggestions and compromise.
  3. Be flexible. Listen to your students! You’ll be amazed how much they’ll respect you when you do. But don’t let the kids rule you, and be careful not to rule them. Remember that, though they are younger, you are all equals. Of course they’ll want to take advantage of these fun things, but you still want to maintain control. Do not be overly strict; don’t tell them that you’ll hold them in after the bell, because it’s not only your time, but their time. Remember that your class is most likely not the most important thing to them, and don’t act as such. They have busy lives, just like you.
  4. Make the work you give to students fun. Any subject can be interesting if done through a game or puzzles. Never waste the students’ time by giving busy work. Make sure that your assignment is actually going to teach them something or help them apply class principles in real life. Busy work is a hassle for everyone. Moreover, they will see it it as pointless for you teach something not relevant to the subject you are teaching. No matter what you teach, but especially for math, make sure that you give examples for every type of problem you expect your students to complete.
  5. Stay in fashion. While still dressing appropriately for your age and maintaining decorum, keep in touch with fashion to help the students relate to you more. Discussing what’s new in trends with your students will give you a better feel for where they’re coming from as well.
  6. Keep in mind that your students cannot remember everything. Make sure to remind them about things when necessary.
  7. Know how to console your students. Be someone who can give advice on solving the students’ dilemma. Give respect, and never humiliate a student in front of the class unless the context is a very clear joke. Remember, humiliation offends far more people than just the student in question. Don’t draw sticks or cards with student’s names on them – this serves no purpose other than to humiliate them. Teach the material, and if they know, they will raise their hands. If they don’t, it’s your job to show them, so you should just tell them the answers on the sheet or work.
  8. Show your passion! Stay interested and involved with your work, remember why you became a teacher in the beginning. Your love of a subject and excitement for it can influence your pupils greatly.
  9. Earn their respect with discipline. It will be difficult for them to respect you if you cannot keep a handle on your classroom. Once you have shown them you can handle the group, it will be easier to be relaxed and fun with them. Don’t be the ‘cool’ teacher that lets their students get away with murder!
  10. Grade fairly. Make sure that not all of your assignments are subjective. For those that are, take precautions such as reading the first page with the name last, or having students write their names on the backs of the papers so you don’t know who it is before you grade.
  11. Don’t complain about your job, salary, or that you have to do conferences – it is part of your job, you picked it. If a business man told his customers how much he hated his job, would they buy his product? No! It also makes students feel bad about themselves if you hate being there with them.
  12. Remember that education is more than teaching students what to think, it is also teaching them how to think. Encourage diverse opinions (even if those opinions differ from your own).
  13. Care about what you teach! If you don’t like it, your students won’t either. If you expect your students to get good grades and put forth an effort, you have to as well.
  14. Don’t naively believe that everyone believes the same things you do (especially when it comes to religion), even if you live in a region where most people believe the same things.
  15. Don’t check out, especially if you teach high school. Letting movies teach your class for you isn’t cool; it is lazy and shows the students you don’t care.
  16. If you have a student who has read something that you haven’t or has an idea you don’t know how to respond to, respect their opinion and appreciate that someone has taken the time to do some extra research. If you don’t know how to respond, say things like “I’ve never heard that before. I will have to do some research.” It will actually make the student feel that his opinions are valid.
  17. If you don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Students often know when the teacher doesn’t have a clue and that leads to a dramatic loss of respect. (And then don’t take the question as a challenge to your knowledge. Take it as a good question from a good, curious student.)
  18. Don’t be afraid to crack a few jokes.
  19. Try not to project any beliefs you have (religion, political, economical, etc.) onto your students. If you do, then make sure that they know that it’s what you believe, and that it’s not necessarily what everyone should believe.
  20. Don’t be someone you’re not. People can see right through you. It is more likely to get you made fun of than popular with students.
  21. Be reasonable; put yourself in your students’ shoes.
  22. Do NOT be hypocritical. If you want your students to tuck their shirts in, make sure you do so too.
  23. If you have a lesson that a snack can be incorporated into it is a fun treat every once in a while. It is a way to change it up a bit and, hey, everyone loves to eat!
  24. Stop complaining how much you have to grade. You were the one who assigned it. If you don’t want to grade it, don’t assign it!

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