What to Do if You’re “Too Nice” of a Teacher

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You’re being too nice. You’ve got to toughen up.

If you’ve heard those words anytime recently, chances are you’re a bit frustrated – and maybe even a little confused.

Your students aren’t really listening to you, and you’re having trouble keeping order in your classroom, but being mean isn’t really in your nature.

Do you really have to stop being nice?

Can a teacher be too nice?

Thankfully, no. But that doesn’t mean you can keep going as is either.

One of the keys to being a great teacher with great classroom control is to have the right balance in your demeanor – to keep being nice while also holding yourself and your students to high standards.

To be an effective teacher ….

  1. Be both kind and firm. The best teachers are personable, understanding, and even fun to be around. But this in no way means they’re a pushover. They kindly but firmly deal with issues that come up, and their students know they mean business.
  2. Have high expectations. Don’t think you’re being nice to your students when you lower your expectations. Instead, believe in them and their abilities, and call out the best in them. Expect great things, and hold them to it.
  3. Focus on being respected instead of being liked. If you’re worried about whether or not your students like you, you’re really going to struggle to deal with issues properly. Instead, make it your goal to earn their respect. (Check out this article here if this is a struggle for you.)
  4. View yourself as your students’ mentor, not their friend. You should absolutely care about your students and want to be involved in their lives. But you must take the role of mentor, not friend. A mentor guides his students without acting like a peer or stooping to their level.
  5. Be friendly, not familiar. Be friendly and open in your interactions with students, but avoid being familiar. For example, if a student shares with you that they got to go snorkeling on their recent vacation, a friendly response may sound like this: “Wow, Adam, it sounds like you and your family had a great time! I love snorkeling. Did you get to see any turtles?” On the other hand, a familiar response would be, “Dude, that’s sweet! I’m so jealous! Although I betcha’ you were scared of sharks, huh?” See the difference?

Have you been accused of being “too nice”? What do you need to change in your demeanor?



Linda Kardamis

I believe that when God calls us to teach, He promises the strength & wisdom to do it well. All we need to do is keep learning, growing, and depending on Him. I'm here to provide practical advice and Biblical encouragement so you'll have the confidence and perspective to not only inspire your students but reach their hearts as well.

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