Want to Be A Popular Teacher? Then Be Excellent!

Man with water running

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I was in elementary school, I idolized my teachers and showed them respect simply because they were my teachers. However, as I became a teenager, simply being my teacher wouldn’t cut it for instant respect. In order for me to admire them, they had to actually be admirable to my teenage mind. I wanted them to be excellent in ways that meant something to me.

As a teacher, I encountered this all the time. Students didn’t really care a whole lot about the topic I taught. And, unless you’re teaching video games, sports, texting, or listening to music, it’s likely your students aren’t terribly interested in your subject matter either. Don’t kid yourself! However, my students did like me personally. And, they did it because I was excellent in ways they cared about.

If you want to be popular and respected by your students, you’ll have to be excellent in ways they admire too. Most teens today really do want to connect with their teachers. But, if your only interests are outside of their experience, they won’t be able to relate to you. It also may be why you may feel you can’t relate to teens at times.

To appear excellent to your students, then you’ll have to either emphasize elements of your personality and talents that appeal to teens or find universally appealing ones. Fortunately, teens are fairly predictable in their interests. The most popular ones are music, sports, and humor. Unfortunately, teens typically don’t care about typical “education” accomplishments like awards for curriculum and classroom management.

One way to find out what your teens find excellent is to actually focus on what they are talking about. Find out their interests. While you don’t have to modify your personality based on their preferences, you can easily emphasize your accomplishments in those areas they care about. If you have nothing in common whatsoever with your students, then perhaps it’s time to develop some or find another career.

Let me give you a personal example of earning respect through excellence. I run extreme races like the Warrior Dash and the Tough Mudder. Whenever my students find out about this, they are amazed and talk about how cool it is. These races are genuine accomplishments and my students respond accordingly with admiration and respect.

Find ways to be excellent and they will love and respect you too.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is an administrator, author, and speaker with a background in teaching. His articles receive over a million hits per year and have appeared in a variety of publications. He is co-owner of the small business Theta Hill, and he also writes for The Popular Teen, The Popular Man and other sites.