If you were to ask pupils up and down the country what they want from their teachers, or even – What do you think makes a good teacher? – you would get some pretty similar responses. This would be regardless of class, creed or location.
Why? Because, deep down, pupils want very similar things.
Pupils want teachers to be good classroom managers
There is a misconception amongst some teachers that pupils do not like disciplinarian teachers, or that they somehow prefer teachers who let them run wild. In fact, pupils want teachers who can manage a class. For some, school offers more security and stability than their home lives provide. However, all students want a steady captain of the ship.
For pupils, fairness, is the key. Students might overdo the ‘Sir, that’s not fair’ card sometimes – but being treated fairly is really important to them. When it comes to classroom management, a teacher who is firm but fair is all pupils really want.
Pupils want learning to be interesting and fun
Ultimately, most students prefer a learning environment that is active. They certainly don’t want teachers that simply lecture at them. Although it might not always seem like it at times, most pupils want to be taught and not just talked to. The vast majority of pupils want to have their imagination captured. Children have inquisitive minds. Teachers that try to engage pupils’ minds will always be on the right lines.
At the same time, most students want to be challenged. They certainly don’t want to be given work that is too easy. However, when you stretch and challenge, it is also important that you guide and support them in equal measure.
Pupils want teachers who can relate to them
Pupils don’t want to their teacher’s friend, but they do want teachers who take the time to get to know who they are. They want to be noticed. A smile can make all the difference. A ‘hello’ on the corridor, or a quick conversation about the football game they played in or the school play they performed in last night, costs nothing and really helps to build a really positive teacher/pupil relationship.
Pupils want teachers who are passionate
Pupils are no fools. They can tell if a teacher doesn’t want to be there in front of them. An enthusiasm for the subject and for teaching children should be obvious to every class you teach. Of course, pupils also understand that people have ‘bad days’. Showing the class that you are honest and actually human will go a long way.
In many ways, most pupils want the things most people would say they should want from their teachers. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t always feel like this in practice! When a class is giving you a hard time, the fact that – deep down – you know that pupils want teachers who are passionate about their subject will mean very little at all.
However, keeping hold of those key points: be a good classroom manager, make learning interesting and fun, relate to young people, and show your passion and enthusiasm for the subject, will always stand any teacher in good stead.