I think teachers being "nice" can be detrimental

@pilbara (1436)
Australia
June 9, 2007 5:58pm CST
Despite all that a lot of people say about teachers I am not afraid to admit that I am one. I do my best to teach not only the required content but also useful skills. Of course it's easier to teach some students than others. But quite often it is the small things my colleagues either do or don't do that annoys me. I think it is important to maintain certain boundaries - I am friendly to my students, I will do whatever I can to help them achieve at their best but I am not their friend. However, all too many of my colleagues want to be their friends. In this context a "nice" teacher is one who looks the other way when rules are bent or broken. For example the students are not supposed to eat inside the building (except in the cafeteria) because they spill food everywhere which annoys the cleaners - we are supposed to get them to go back to the cafe or outside with their food. They aren't allowed to kick soccer balls near the windows. They aren't allowed to eat or drink in the science labs. There are quite a few other rules like these which exist for their safety or other practical reasons. However (and several of my colleagues have admitted this) many staff do not make the effort to get the students to comply with these rules. Their reason is that if I say something to the students, they won't like me as much and they won't work as well in my class. As a result if you are one of the few teachers who does make the effort to do the right thing you get major atttitude "why are you picking on me" "what's your problem" "everyone else lets me do it - why don't you" and they call you names behind your back etc etc etc. My colleagues will not see that this makes our job that much harder. I cannot see that it would cause a problem if everyone did their job, as long as you are clear about your expectations, apply the rules fairly and aren't ranting at students about small infractions e.g. if I see someone eating in the corridor I say something like "excuse me but you shouldn't be eating here can you please go back to the cafeteria or outside". Why should something like that be such an issue that teachers won't deal with and makes students think they are being picked on?
3 people like this
7 responses
• United States
10 Jun 07
I actually rather prefer the teachers like you! I'm back in college after a long hiatus and I've found the same type of thing going on. Most people that I am 'friends' with in school don't understand why I like a certain teacher. She makes everyone follow the same rules, doesn't play faves, etc. I appreciate that in her because I know, if something comes up that's a problem, I can count on her to handle it fairly and effectively. Kudos to you for standing your ground!
2 people like this
@pilbara (1436)
• Australia
10 Jun 07
Thanks for your reply. That's what I try to do and that's what I think we are there for.
@ESKARENA1 (18304)
10 Jun 07
i think onwe of the criteria for assessing a good teacher is their ability to set and maintain boundaries. It is not possible to be a friend with a student and maintain effective educational discipline. OK I teach in a maximum security prison and weouldnt want to get close with those in my charge, but even in a much more relaxed environment, it would still not be wise blessed be
2 people like this
@pilbara (1436)
• Australia
10 Jun 07
Thanks for your response. That must be a tough job to do. I agree with you, I think it is possible to be pleasant and helpful, and still be firm but fair about the rules.
@FSCAries (881)
• United States
9 Jun 07
I agree with you. I have now graduated from college, but in my high school years, I can remember what teachers would let you get away with what. Granted, they were always the ones that us students more readily identified with and enjoyed be in (or skipping b/c we knew we could) their classes. But that does make it harder for the other teachers who are doing their JOB enforcing the school rules. You would think that an educated professional would realize the detrimental behavior they are propigating.
2 people like this
@pilbara (1436)
• Australia
10 Jun 07
Thanks for your response. That is exactly what I mean, if some teachers decide not to do their job to make is easier on themselves then that makes it harder for the rest of us. The people in charge are always telling us that we must be consistent as a faculty, but it goes in one ear and out the other. Then these people have the hypocricy to criticise the students.
• Canada
9 Jun 07
I think the main reason for not having foods and drinks in classrooms was to protect other students if they have allergies to a certain food. I think the reason why most teachers bother to enforce this rule is because the chances of someone being allergic to something such as potato chips is very slim. Teachers probably assume that since there's such a slim change that it's ok for the students to eat them in class. I would much rather tell a student to stop eating in class opposed to them eating in class and making someone have a severe allergic reaction. Rules are rules, and you should enforce them even if the students' don't think they're fair.
2 people like this
@pilbara (1436)
• Australia
10 Jun 07
Thanks for your reply. Yes there are issues with eating certain things because of allergies. But I teach science and no-one is allowed to eat or drink in a lab as it is part of the OH&S rules.
@misheleen73 (6037)
• United States
10 Jun 07
I agree that teachers are there to teach first and foremost. I do believe there are some teachers that exist, that are very nasty though. Yes, there are rules that need to be followed, I am not talking about those that enforce rules. I speak on a personal level with some teachers and staff I have dealt with from my son's ADHD. Some teachers out there do not want to be teachers anymore. For every minor thing they are calling home for a meeting, and suggesting things that are outrageous. I applaud you and othrs that only want the best for the kids and are willing to enforce rules, and TEACH to make them into better, more educated children.
1 person likes this
@pilbara (1436)
• Australia
10 Jun 07
Thanks for your response. I agree I have known some who don't want to teach anymore. Unfortuantely that is because in many cases it has been made too hard. Firstly there is an ongoing perception that teaching is an easy job, high pay, lots of holidays etc. They don't see the other side of it. Some parents want certain things taught to their children, some don't want exactly the same things taught so either way we can't win. Some parents don't care about the education of their child at all, they can't get their child to do things at home, but nevertheless want us to get their child to do them at school and get angry when we can't. With regard to meetings and so on, it is a result of what parents want - so when situation x happens, a range of teachers, counsellers etc become involved as well as discussions with the parents. It is part of their job to do that and often the conditions set are a requirement, not the idea of a particular teacher. Like you I am not convinced of the value of this, but that is the situation many schools have been forced into.
• United States
11 Jun 07
I do understand what you mean, i just see alot of negative stuff I guess. My son is ADHD, this past year he had a wonderful teacher, and while I know my son was not perfect, he did his best with him. In another school, both my sons threw rocks. My youngest actually broke someone's head open. It was an accident, but nothing was done to my son. I was jus informed and that was that. My eldest, the ADHD, threw a rock, and hit no one, threw it at no one, and was put in Internal Suspension !! that was them picking on him because of his condition. They would ask him daily if he took his pills, wanted to separate him from the rest of the class with dividers and head phones !!! Those are not solutions. Those are teachers not wanting to deal with my child !!
1 person likes this
@rsa101 (13337)
• Philippines
9 Jun 07
I think you are right on saying that being nice is not good at all if by being nice you misguide the person you are being nice with. I guess being a teacher you should set example to the students and you should also not go down to their level just to attract their attention to you. It is you who has to make the effort to get their attention by setting good example and a leader to them not them using you to their advantage.
1 person likes this
@pilbara (1436)
• Australia
10 Jun 07
Thank you for your reply. I agree with you. It is not up to us to be their friends, it is up to us to give them the best possible education and set a good example. Not just let them slide through because that makes it easier for everyone.
@deebomb (15347)
• United States
10 Jun 07
This is one of my pet peeves. Tachers and parents want to be friends with their kids. Kids don't need the adults in their live to be friends. They need them to be teachers. Someday they will be living in the grown up world and will have to follow the rules of that world. Look at what has happened with Paris Hilton and the trouble she has landed in..
@pilbara (1436)
• Australia
10 Jun 07
Thanks for your response. That's what I mean about being friendly, but not their friend. I agree it is important to have good role models who display appropriate behaviour.
1 person likes this
@deebomb (15347)
• United States
11 Jun 07
I think that you can be friends with the kids but there has to be boundries. Be their friend with good councleing and help with school work that they are having trouble with and encouraging them in getting a good education. I wish that my grandkids had teachers like you.