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5.3 Professionalism

durenmgmail-com November 9, 2021

Teachers need to be their students’ friends, but not to go too far. It is very unprofessional when the teacher starts behaving like a student because this can create significant drawbacks.

Teachers should help students with schoolwork, listen to them, talk about their lives, but remember who they are. Even in a situation where the age gap is small between you and your students, they need to understand the hierarchy of the teacher in the classroom.

Problems occur when teachers are too friendly with the student. Especially when students feel they are on the same level in the hierarchy as the teacher, they lose respect and start trying to take advantage, such as not doing homework, stop listening to the teacher, start taking things personally, etc. Once this happens, getting things back on track is tough without hurting feelings or ruining relationships.

Teachers that are too friendly with their students also find themselves in a situation where they are under pressure to compromise their teacher role in favour of the friend role. This leads to unfavourable results in the classroom.

It is important to remember that you are first and foremost a teacher; being friendly with the student may help achieve a good relationship and motivate learning. However, how to adjust the balance of professionalism is a skill that takes practice.