A teacher's top priority? Being liked by pupils

11th January 2019, 12:05am
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A teacher's top priority? Being liked by pupils

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/teachers-top-priority-being-liked-pupils

Here's a question for you, Dear Reader: what is a teacher's most important quality?

Is it being respected? Being knowledgeable? Remaining fair? 

Well, according to Rod Grant, headmaster of Clifton Hall School in Edinburgh, it's simple. He says, that the most important part of being a teacher is being liked by your pupils. 

In the future, will your class remember your carefully planned and knowledge-packed lesson on the French revolution? Or your fair allocation of golden stars for the behaviour chart?

Not a chance. What they'll remember, says Grant, is your kindness, passion and understanding. 

So, if being liked by your pupils is the most important thing, what priority should we give to all the admin stuff that teachers are led to believe is so essential
- ticking boxes for line managers, employers, government, HMIe, GTCS, Care Inspectorate, local authorities, quality improvement officers and the rest?

Grant urges us to see all of these demands as "of relatively little importance". 

"What matters is the relationships we build with our students. Perhaps we need to see ourselves as 'coaches' rather than teachers or instructors,"
he writes. 

"That simple semantic change can often create a difference in our personal methodology. If we see our job as coaching, the relationship between ourselves and our students quickly becomes more collaborative and more conducive to a healthy working relationship."

He says that we all know that when pupils like you, they're more likely to want to please you. They work harder, become more readily inspired and develop their
own aspirations. 

"Teach with kindness, teach with energy, teach with passion and enjoy the journey," says Grant - that way you'll leave behind one hell of a teaching legacy. 

And as for form-filling, development plans and pleasing those in power - place those activities in the correct context. It should always be children first, everyone and everything else a very distant second. 

"So far in the distance," says Grant, "that they are barely noticeable…"

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