Likability is a common trait among the happiest, most effective teachers.
The reason is simple:
When your students like you, everything is easier—especially classroom management.
We’ve covered why this is so, as well as how to become more likable, in previous articles.
Today, however, we’re going to talk about how you know if it’s really true. Because, you see, students are adept at hiding negative feelings about you.
They fear that if you really knew how they felt, it may affect how you treat them or grade their work.
So most students keep their thoughts to themselves. They smile and do what they must while all the while holding a private grudge.
So how do you know?
What follows are five undeniable signs that your students truly do like you, thereby giving you a big classroom management advantage.
1. They’ll tell you.
This is the clearest indication of how your students really feel. If you’re popular with them, they’ll let you know it—again and again and again.
And it won’t just come from the few who seem to like all their teachers.
You’ll hear from all four corners of your classroom, representing your very best students as well as those who struggle, your perfectly well behaved and your most challenging.
2. You’ll hear it through the grapevine.
Parents, administrators, fellow teachers, students in other classrooms . . . your likability will become well known throughout the school.
You’ll get big, embarrassing cheers at assemblies and happy hellos during every passing period—even from students you’ve never met.
Parents will whisper in your ear, administrators will smile more often (and leave you alone), and your colleagues will want to know your secret. (Some may even resent you.)
3. Your students will acknowledge you.
When you first greet your students in the morning they’ll look right at you, which is no small thing. They’ll regard you with some gesture of unforced acknowledgement.
Some may be enthusiastic about it, while others will be more subtle. Many will also seek your approval, which they cherish.
“I scored during my soccer game yesterday.”
“I studied an hour last night.”
“I brought extra chips to share with my friends.”
4. Your students will want to be around you.
When different groups of students approach you in twos and threes during breaks or before and after school just to talk and laugh, it’s an obvious sign that they like you and enjoy your company.
—Which is the key to having natural, behavior-influencing rapport.
Conversation flows easily. Banter is effortless. And awkwardness and shyness around you is all but non-existent.
5. Your Students yell hello across campus.
It means a lot when students unabashedly yell out a greeting while with friends or playing at recess or hiking between classes.
Especially middle and high schoolers.
Their willingness to be openhearted and risk being made fun of by their friends or jaded students who may not know you is a strong indicator of how much they care about you.
6. You have leverage, and can feel it.
This is when you’ve reached the point where your personal likability so profoundly affects students that classroom management becomes much easier.
You can feel, palpably, that even giving a warning matters to your students.
They like and appreciate you and enjoy being in your classroom to such a degree that your rules carry weight, meaning, and significance to them. They loathe to disappoint you, but desire to please you, listen to you, impress you, and behave for you.
It’s powerful stuff and the greatest feeling in teaching.
An Advantage Like No Other
There are teachers who will tell you that they couldn’t care less whether their students like them or not.
However, whatever level of teaching ability they’ve reached, they can double it in a month by becoming more likable. I can’t emphasize enough the advantage this gives you.
Or the joy and ease it can bring to classroom management.
This doesn’t mean that you have to entertain your students, be friends with them, or ever fail to hold them accountable. (Which, ironically, will cause them neither to like nor respect you.)
To learn how to become more likable and enjoy greater influence and a deeper love of teaching, please visit the Rapport & Influence category of the archive or pick up one of our books.
In the meantime, thanks for reading and being part of SCM.
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