Likability is a key principle of EDUPSTAIRS—because it makes building rapport effortless. It causes learners to want to listen to you, please you, and behave for you. It helps make your consequences matter.
Being disliked, on the other hand, makes classroom management far more difficult. It’s the reason many teachers struggle year after year, why they find themselves pleading, arguing, and bribing just to get through the day.
The problem with turning it around, however, is that it can be hard to know why your learners feel the way they do. In that spirit, what follows are seven reasons your learners may dislike you:
- You’re inconsistent.
When you’re inconsistent, learners believe—and rightly so—that your classroom management plan isn’t applied fairly and equally to everyone. That you play favorites. This causes resentment and animosity. It casts doubt on everything you say.
It’s hard to like someone who goes back on their word and can’t be trusted to protect them and their right to learn from disruption, chaos, and the like.
- You’re disorganized.
Respect is closely linked to likability. If your classroom is cluttered and you have papers everywhere on top of your desk , if you appear rushed and underprepared, then your learners won’t view you as a leader worth following. Your ability to influence and speak with power and authority will be limited.
The sharpness and snap that exemplify a well-run classroom, and that keep learners on their toes, moving forward, and purpose-driven, will be non-existent.
They may think you’re funny or a nice person, but if they don’t respect you, then there will be no meaningful likability.
- You’re unclear.
Not knowing what is expected for any length of time during the school day is very frustrating for learners. It causes excitability, poor listening, and the desire to misbehave.
To be looked up to and appreciated, you must guide your learners in detail from one lesson, routine, and transition to the next. There should never be a question of what success looks like. Feeling it and experiencing it often, even in small doses, can be life-changing.
- You talk too much.
Your words must matter. Each and every one must count and have a definitive purpose. Because the more you talk and repeat yourself, the greater the chance you’re going to lose your learners.
No one likes people who go on and on, especially without a clear point.
It’s hard to listen to. It appears selfish and can cause animosity in even the youngest learners. Being brief and concise, on the other hand, is easy on the ears and always appreciated.
- You’re suffocating.
In an effort to give as much of themselves as possible for their learners, a lot of teachers end up doing too much. They over-help. They rush around giving needless hints and suggestions.
This, in turn, removes personal pride, independence, and intrinsic motivation. It’s annoying. It’s suffocating. It’s instinctively and rebelliously unwanted.
- You’re boring.
Well-liked teachers are constantly assessing how their learners are responding to instruction. They’re in tune with energy levels and how long their class has been sitting, listening, or engaged in concentrated work.
They keep things fresh and moving. They use humor and uniqueness. They generously put themselves in their learners’ shoes.
Teachers who blindly go about their day, on the other hand, thinking only of how they’re feeling and what they need to accomplish, will always struggle with learner boredom, dissatisfaction, and disfavour.
- You’re grumpy.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. If you’re stressed and irritable, tired and in a bad mood, then you’re going to have a tough time being liked. Especially if it leaks into your response to misbehavior.
Lecturing, scolding, questioning, and other acts of intimidation don’t work in this day and age. They only sabotage your own peace and enjoyment and bring about more misbehavior, not less.
To sum up…
All things being equal, being likable gives you a huge advantage over your colleagues. It makes every key area of classroom management—from listening to motivation to the efficacy of your consequences—much, much easier.
It gives you the leverage you need to mold your learners into the well-behaved class you really want.
But it takes being honest with yourself about your professional shortcomings. It takes coming to grips with areas of weakness and making the necessary changes that make likability predictable.
Something you no longer have to think about or even try to cultivate.
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