Catchy title eh? Yup . I am proud of this one! Now, let’s talk. There is a lot of convo going on about whether or not we should talk about our personal life, things we like with our learners on not. When does sharing become over sharing? When do you draw a line? Do you bring yourself down to the learner’s level or are you up on your teacher pedastol?
I am now going to tell you what I think what is essential for ‘good teaching’. Maybe even THE most important.
No matter how many diplomas and MAs you have, if you are distant, in my books, you will probably be able to teach the mixed conditionals, but you will not be making an impact and you probably won’t be remembered.
Do you need to be remembered as a teacher? Of course (me thinks) but not as the scary teacher, but the one they smile at when they see after years.
What do you mean why? When your learners like you, they learn better. When you have a good relationship with your kids, they thrive. They feel comfy to ask questions, they don’t mind making mistakes. They enjoy coming to class. OK, sometimes there may be a danger of overenjoying coming to class aka turning your class into a playground, but let’s not focus on that one.
Rapport and good relationships with your students allows you to use the second best ‘weapon’ in the classroom.
The guilt trip
If your students don’t give a crap about you (sorry for the bad langauge but I am trying to be dramatic), then you cannot use the guilt trip card. You know the card you use when you say,
I put all my energy into:
correcting your essay,finding material
trying to make the lesson interesting
teaching you on a Sunday
and you don’t want to pay attention?
The wake up call when learners are in lala land, arrogant or just not putting enough effort into their work. That’s freakin great child psychology (the guilt card) :p
Now, let’s move on to some more focused and serious reasons why ‘becoming friends’ with your learners can be very beneficial.
You learn about your student’s likes/ dislikes, so you know how to choose better material. They become your ‘theme’ syllabus!!
Being more concious of learner needs/ problems
If your learner feels comfortable with you as a teacher, they are mosre likely to talk about any learner problems/ issues they have. It is not just about understanding the Passive Voice, it may be “I am a slow reader”. In Greece, very often, parents do not talk about learning difficulties and you are left scratching your head, trying to figure out what’s going on. If your student feels safe, they will open up. This will help you as a teacher.
Disadvantages of good rapport?
Are there any? Yes, depending on how you define ‘good rapport’. Number 1 is drawing the line. I have had students tell me stuff they haven’t told their parents. that’s when I have said,
Do not tell me this. tell your mum because if you do not, I will
Becoming too invested in your learners and worrying about them.Taking your ‘work’ home and having trouble persuading yourself that it is NOT your problem, you cannot solve everything.
So, yeah, the lines can be blurry, but taking the distant teacher hat off, getting off the pedastol, is better than being the one who does not make a connection, does impact.
Thanks for stopping by.