“Everybody starts with an A!” I announced to the class. I was thinking also, “And everyone is my teacher’s pet, as well.” That is how most of us start with each new class. Teachers normally want every child to succeed, every child to be his or her favorite, each class to be the favorite class of the day and have it become their students’ favorite.
The Making of a Class Favorite: Most kids think that to become a teacher’s pet, one needs to show fake enthusiasm for a class, be the brightest one in the room and be kind of a nerd about loving to read, write or do math all day long. But, some of these traits actually work against becoming a favorite. Instead, most of us as teachers are looking for:
  • Teachability — the willingness to receive correction, take it in and try to apply it, and keep seeking improvement or growth.
  • Curiosity — I teach writing… Let’s face it. Not a lot of students rank that as their favorite subject. They love science, history, literature and even math. But writing is just hard work and the teacher is never happy with what one does, right?
    But a student can become my favorite when they actually wonder why one form of writing is different than another, how each style of writing impacts readers and even impacts lives, etc. They don’t have to love it — just engage and stretch one’s mind, and try to look through the teacher’s eyes and learn why the teacher is so enthusiastic.
  • Effort — The students that work hard to do their best at an assignment become favorites. Trying to figure it out counts more than already having something mastered. We, as teachers, love to assist struggling students to get better and better.
  • Attitude — This one cuts in two directions: a positive attitude and willingness to try new things even when it is hard at first wins points in a teacher’s heart. But sometimes students cover up their struggles by adopting an apathetic or even sarcastic attitude. This and the old rolling of the eyes, rare here at Veritas, kills the relationship between teacher and student.
  • Taking Initiative and Responsibility — If a student did not understand an assignment, the student asks questions either orally in class or with a quick email. The student who is proactive so that the job can get done becomes highly valued by a teacher.
  • Gratefulness — Students who appreciate the time and effort that a teacher puts into the class and the student become favorites quickly. This appreciation motivates teachers to do better at their craft and encourage them that the investment of time is worth it.
Killing the Teacher-Student Rapport: Just think of the opposite of the things that build the connection between the student. Whining about having to put forth effort on an assignment, doing the least amount of effort to get by, ignoring suggestions for improvement, being apathetic or even mocking the subject matter, making excuses, not taking responsibility, and disregarding the value of class time by distracting others.
Everyone Can Be a Favorite! Believe it or not, every student can be a teacher’s favorite. Here at Veritas we are eager to enjoy every student, eager to have them in the class, and eager to be a part of their growth. The only students that we begin to dread are those with a willingness to distract others and steal time and attention from both teachers and fellow students, those who care little about being faithful in their schoolwork, and those who make it harder for the rest of the class to learn and succeed. Apart from those things, we are ready to embrace every student.
We love our kids,
Christopher
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