How To Be a “Nice” Teacher?

 

Rough textured blackboard with wooden frame. A red apple and a stick of white chalk sit in front. The black slate has a used or worn appearance. Horizontal composition. Message for teachers' day - stock photoI have been privy to students’ conversations from different angles, as a teacher in a group setting, an assistant teacher and an innocent bystander like a fly on the wall. It is clear that students relate to their teachers more than any other staff member. Often, the teacher is the main character in students’ conversations. The discourse reveals what matters to them scholarly wise. Surprisingly, it is not the teacher’s subject matter expertise; it is their public relation skills. In a nutshell, they have to be “nice”, plain and simple, or is it? What does nice mean? Why does it matter to students? How can a teacher learn to be “nice” since it is such an important ingredient in the teacher-student relationship?

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8 thoughts on “How To Be a “Nice” Teacher?

  1. Camose, this is one of the best insights and questions you have brought to my attention. As an educator myself, I know exactly what you mean. Students academic performance in class is often impacted by whether or not they like the teacher or if they find the teacher to be fair, kind , and as you put it nice. I particular, at the high school level I find that students are more motivated to work if they feel the teacher is nice. I believe this is so because they know their work will be judged fairly and also want to appease the teacher. However in my experience being too nice, can be seen as a weakness by students cause some students will take advantage by misbehaving. This is why a teacher must learn to manage being nice to students while also standing grounds with what is acceptable behavior in the classroom and what is not. Like Camose, I have been a teacher, assistant, and a fly on the wall and very much agree with your statements in this post. I like to describe my personal teaching style as strict but fair and very approachable. Being nice to students as well as other teaching professionals is a trait that a good teacher must have. I say treat your students nicley and without bias. Students easily pick up on when a teacher gives favoritism towards some. To sum it up, I feel being a nice teacher is crucial and you must balance that quality with many others to have a serene classroom. Students do not have a desire to perform in classrooms if they feel the teacher does not treat them right,;remember they are often more immediately perceptive of a teacher than we think.

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    1. I agree Amanda. Balance between between being “nice” and being “stern” is necessary. There has to be a clear boundary between the teacher and the student.

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      1. communication and perception are the other sides of the coin. What is considered as “nice” to the teacher may not be considered as such to the student?

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    2. I am not and have never been a teacher but have been a student who has had numerous associations with teachers and can share from a student’s perspective what I as a student look forward in a teacher. I look in a teacher exquisite communication skills, ability to raise a students self-esteem and the ability to aide the student in looking deep inside themselves and become a better version of the person they were meant to be. I remember in college my advisor was our college’s president and how he helped me to become the man i am today. He helped me grow mentally, socially and spiritually. The components in being a nice teacher i believe is comprised of empathy, compassion, open-mindedness, honesty, humility. I have had experiences in good and not so good teachers. When i returned to higher education i realized that the teachers who were assigned to me were not my enemy but there to help and guide me. I noticed how some went beyond the teacher’s qualifications to help their students achieve success in their academics. It wasn’t until years later that I came to realize that these nice teachers were actually preparing me for life outside the classroom.

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    3. Very insightful topic and discussion. I can see both sides of the discussion where being “nice” can be perceived as a strength and weakness It wasn’t until I went back to school and college was I able to appreciate and value that truly blessed I was to have “nice” educators there for me. From college presidents to administrators to the teachers themselves I was able to recognize the educators were there for the benefit of their students. One thing I learned was to give the teachers the same respect I would want them to show me. Another thing I learned and understand today is to have patience and humility with my teachers and other students. Some students might not be able to grasp and understand things as fast as I can so the teachers might have to spend more time with them than other students including myself and at times the teachers had to spend more time with me than other students. It doesn’t mean the teachers preferred one student over another bur recognized these “nice” teachers were there to educate “ALL” their students.

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  2. No kid, especially those with learning disabilities coming from unspeakable hell at home should be forced by state law to be taught by violent, alcoholic, drug addicted “educators” who are stoned everyday, but have the authority to report kids whom they suspect are chemically impaired. No wonder NJ kids refuse to go to class, or worse, commit suicide.. This is not permitted in any other profession. Why here, at Orange, NJ schools??!!

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    1. I agree that no “kid” or no one should be put in such a position. However not all “NJ kids refuse to go to class, or worse, commit suicide..” These situations are not all necessarily related to their experiences at school. It is never one thing or one size fits all. Thanks for commenting..

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