You are NOT Their Friend
Be the Teacher, Not the Buddy

I know they are cute, those students we teach. You want them to love you. But, you are not their friend. This is so important I’ll say it again; you are not their friend.

They can have friends at recess, at soccer practice or at home. You are their teacher, and that is much more important than being their friend.

It is hard to be firm with children in the beginning. I know. We all know. We all thought that teaching would be “cute” and “fun”, but sometimes it isn’t. That’s when you need to remember that your job is to teach them, not to be friends with them.

It is hard to be strong sometimes. It stinks. But, remember, you are not their friend, and it is what you signed up for.

Many of the children in your class will see you for more hours each day than their parents. They need to learn the rules of life from you, they need to learn right and wrong from you, they need to realize that they are not the center of the universe and that there are strong academic and behavioral expectations on them. Your job is to teach.

I have said many, many times through the years, “I am not here to be your friend, and I’m here to teach you to grow up to be a productive member of society.” I’ve said it to 5 year-olds and I’ve said it to 15 year-olds. They all understand it. They know what school’s about.

And just about every student I’ve ever taught would tell you that they respect me for it, they might not like me, but they respect me.

This is not to say that I don’t thoroughly enjoy being with my students. I love my students, I hug them when they cry or praise them when they succeed.

With that said, they all understand that I don’t want to hear their gossip, I don’t want to see them do things that are unacceptable, and that I will tell them they are wrong when they do things that are bad for them.

My place is to be the adult whether my class is kindergarten or 8th grade. If you let them think that you are equals, it is a hard, long road to gain back their respect, so don’t let it happen in the first place.

Start strong and stay strong, it is the best way to help them, and you. Consistency is key.

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