5 Reasons Why Your Students Don’t Like You

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It’s not because you hold them accountable.

This is a myth. In fact, as long as you follow through as promised—and without lecturing, berating, questioning, etc.—your likability will increase. It will get stronger along with their trust in you.

But there are distinct and predictable reasons why students dislike certain teachers. The good news is that once you know what they are, you can begin the changes that result in not only greater likability, but also improved behavior.

With that, what follows are five reasons your students may not like you.

1. You go back on your word.

This is number one. If you say it, you better do it. Stating rules, policies, and/or procedures and then ignoring them or applying them inconsistently will cause students to dislike you intensely.

It calls everything you stand for into question. It communicates that you don’t mean what you say and that even your niceties lack meaning—or they’re fake and used for manipulation.

How do you feel about a friend or boss, for example, who promises something again and again and doesn’t deliver? They become inconsequential and hard not to disparage behind their back.

2. You don’t like them.

If you dislike your students, or teaching in general, then they’ll know it. It’s something a Shakespearean actor couldn’t hide. Have you ever heard the expression “Your thoughts are showing”?

Well, it’s true. Your eyes. Your micro-expressions. Your tone and body language. It all exposes you for who you are and how you feel about your students.

You must choose to like them and see the best in them for them to like you back. A classroom is the Law of Reciprocity in action, the results of which are obvious to any visitor or fly on the wall to see.

3. Your students get under your skin.

You may like your students, but if you allow them to get under your skin and frustrate you with their behavior (instead of allowing your classroom management plan to do its good work), then it will cause you to seek revenge.

It may be subtle. It may be subconscious. It may be a look or word of sarcasm or rebuke. But it’s exceedingly hard to take disrespect or challenge on the chin day after day without returning the favor.

Unless, that is, you remember that you’re an adult, a leader, a role model, a teacher who manages, guides, and influences from a higher plane. You are above the petty and proud, an example of grace and maturity.

4. You’re grumpy.

Life is hard. You bring a lot with you when you get into your car and make your way to school. But you must leave it all behind the moment you step on campus. You must be a pro no matter what is happening in your life.

Your students are counting on you. They need you to be at your best and locked in on them, your lessons, and your classroom.

If you’re unprepared mentally, if you don’t take care of yourself and arrive at school unhappy, it will spill out onto your students. Testy, cantankerous, grouchy . . . snapping at them decimates your influence.

5. You’re uptight.

There are classrooms so thick with tension you can feel it the moment you step inside. The air is suffocating. Stress and unease is palpable. Excitability among students has them climbing the walls.

And it’s always, always, always caused by the teacher, who is in the dark about why their students are so agitated, silly, and primed for misbehavior.

You control the energy in your classroom through your temperament. If they’re anxious and jumpy because of the environment you create, then they’re not going to like being there—or around you.

A Simple Fix

The formula for predictable likability no matter who your students are or what age is a simple one. It involves only two ingredients:

1. 100% reliance on your classroom management plan.

2. Your consistent pleasantness.

That’s it. Now, to accomplish this, to possess each ingredient to the degree they become who you are, encompasses much of this website and our philosophy here at SCM.

Therefore, please take the time to peruse our archive, watch our videos, and pick up one or more of our books and guides.

In the meantime, know that if you just do these two things, and do them well, you’ll experience remarkable behavioral and academic success, fulfillment, and love of teaching.

If you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving classroom management articles like this one in your email box every week.

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