I like to think that I am nice person.
I am not writing this because I want to blow my own trumpet. I am always trying to be nice to everybody, to leave my seat on the bus to the elders, to be polite, well, whatever my parents educated me to do. This is what I am trying to do with my pupils.
We cannot save them all. It’s the first rule. Despite everything, their background, their smile, you cannot let them eat you alive because you don’t want to upset them. It’s good to be a nice teacher, but when they are doing BS, you better not mess with this.
This advice is actually good for every day life: on my former career, I was always the “nice girl” so everybody on the fifth floor (mine, obviously) came to my desk to borrow me an eraser, a pen, my IPhone charger or… my chair (true story). But at the end of the day, I had to see every people who came by my desk to get my stuff back or I could kiss them goodbye forever.
With primary school pupils, that’s exactly the same thing. One of them, today, wanted to borrow my Lilo & Stitch eraser (Yes, I have a Lilo & Stitch eraser, a Hello Kitty ruler and a Mickey Mouse mug. I am basically a child myself.) and threw a scene when I said no. I know the boy: I could say bye to my eraser, and I like that eraser. It’s not being selfish or voluntary being mean to a six years old, no, it’s called “get your stuff or you’ll get a note on your notebook for your parents.” Rules are rules.
By being too nice, as teachers, we are basically not helping them: we are overprotecting them. If I had let my student to borrow my (favorite) eraser, he would have never understand why it was necessary to bring their tools. When we don’t want to shout at them because they are talking too loudly, for example, we are not helping them either.
By making them following the rules, so when we avoid being too nice, we are, actually, the nicest teachers.