Being liked by students has never been an important goal (for me anyway).
I know being liked is an important goal for full-time classroom teachers, as it should be.
Relief teachers need not be liked so much because their role in the student's life is not long term.
But teaching of any format is so much easier if you are NOT HATED.
The problem with believing that being liked equates to quality teaching is that students are very fickle.
The very nature of young students mean that you could be "liked" one minute and "not liked" the next.
Or you could even be relegated to the 12th best friend instead of the 11th.
Students won't necessarily perform better if they like you.
They may not even behave any better.
Being liked does not necessarily relate to better learning. If being liked is important to a teacher, students will, however, expect you to do things that keeps you in their good books.
After all, if being liked is important to the teacher, the student is in the driver's seat.
And that situation is as far from quality teaching as you can possibly get.
Students are not adults and haven't yet developed the adult version of friendship. Mutual gratification is important to adult friendships. Such a relationship is totally inappropriate in the classroom.
Students are egocentric and operate on the premise that they are the most important people in the universe.
Egocentric people believe that everyone should do things to keep them happy. Especially the people who need to be liked.
Of course, the reverse is also equally true. Quality teaching does not mean a teacher must enter the room like a thunder cloud with flashes of lightning. There is a good chance students will rain on your parade.
As I have said many times before, a snarling dog always begets a snarling dog.
Being HATED is another matter altogether
If students hate you, all bets are off and logic is thrown out of the window. A lot of students claim to "hate" Justin Beiber without any logic as to why. They just do.
Students can "hate" you at the drop of a hat. In fact, students will form an opinion of you within the first 10 minutes. So if you start the day angry, you can bet you will be hated withing the first 10 minutes,
You are between a rock and a hard place, because if you set out your day with the goal of being liked, students will take advantage of you (like most of their friends) and set out calling in favours from you.
It makes perfect sense, if it is quality teaching you require, to forget about being liked, and forget about being a thundercloud. Instead work on not being hated.
Have you ever seen first responders (Fire Fighters, Policeman, Ambos) arrive at a scene of calamity. They walk, talk slowly and quietly and exude a clam and professional approach.
Relief Teachers are an unknown entity in most classrooms. Starting the day calmly sends a professional massage to the students. Feel free to chant some Buddhist mantra, or do a few Tia Chi exercises or simply take a big breath.
But do them in PRIVATE.
Quality teaching starts and ends with calmness. If you want to control Unruly students, you must be calm.
Be respectful in your tone, even if you have to combat the classroom turkeys.
Don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh and smile if appropriate. Be a real person and appreciate the humour of the situation.
Schools and classrooms are people places. While some days you might feel like you are in a zoo, you really don't need to assume the role of an animal tamer. Be pleasant.
People connect by sharing snippets or stories. In no way should you do the "Facebook thing" and share every personal detail with your class. However, you will become less hated if students develop some empathy towards you as a person.
This can be a slippery road so never share anything you wouldn't share on the ABC news report.
Talk about your pets, gardens, favourite sports and encourage students to share as well.
Personal anecdotes about events that enhance a concept within and relevant to the class work develops personal connections.
Don't forget, you are a teacher first.
You want your plumber to fix up your taps and your electrician to connect up your power points. It would be a little creepy if they offered to cook you a cake.
Seriously, even the dipsticks in the class understand that you are at the front of the room to teach. Surprisingly even unruly students appreciate quality teaching.
Make everything about teaching. If you are doing an activity without a focus, like some of the sheet work which may be offered to you by the classroom teacher, you are wasting time. The students will hate you.
Don't apologise for being in the classroom and don't feel like an outsider. Take ownership of the classroom while you are there. Be the boss. Be the gate keeper.
Nothing creates unnecessary tension than a relief teacher who won't make a decision. You may have a teaching program better than that offered by the class teacher. Use it.
Own the classroom and be the boss. Never criticise the classroom teacher but let the students know you care enough to make decisions.
Quite often you will need to be the first responder in a crisis situation.
This is especially certain if the situation jeopardises the safety of others.
Every crisis is different.
Crisis management calls for a substantiated process of action. Develop a crisis management plan for all of these types of situation.
If you don't have one, use mine.
How to You Stack Up?