Many teachers think that they can put one over on their students from time to time for any number of reasons: convenience, ease, or simply because they think they can. The truth is, the more “real” teachers are to their students, the better they will respond to instruction and classroom rules. Time and time again, the teachers who win awards and are voted the favorite teachers of their schools are the ones who take the time to explain the true nature of their subjects and their lives to their students. Teaching is all about keeping the right amount of distance between teacher and student. Too close and students won’t see the difference between them and their teacher. Too far, and the students won’t engage. Giving incomplete information to students may be necessary at certain points in a teacher’s career, but frequently giving incomplete or, far worse, false information to students too much will erode their respect for their teachers and cause teachers to lose control of the classroom.
Students live to keep their teachers honest. They will always connect better with teachers who show them the respect of telling them the truth and being honest about their lives and their subjects. Students are very curious about their teachers, as role models they look up to. Teachers don’t have to give their life stories to students, but they should at least be honest with them whenever appropriate.
Daniel Behan of McQuaid Jesuit Middle School knows all of the secrets to keeping control of the classroom and providing students with the tools they need to succeed.