Friday, July 17, 2009

Friendly but not Friends

Yesterday I was browsing the internet for blogs about student teaching. As I inch closer and closer to this anticipated moment, I am trying to soak up all of the tips and inspiration I can get!! One of the common threads throughout the tips for student teachers was the importance of being friendly, but not friends with the students. I absolutely understand this piece of advice because if students think you are their friend and not their teacher, the only result will be TROUBLE!! I had never really given the difference between these two relationships much thought before. In fact, the more I thought about this advice, the more trouble I had between determining what makes them distinct. I feel like deep down, I WANT the approval of my students. I want them to like me and I want to like them too. But I think that what this should translate to is wanting the respect and admiration of my students and me giving them the same back. They may not like me, but as long as I am treating them with respect and helping them to succeed as students and as individuals, it really doesn’t matter. So to help myself have a little more clarity on this issue, I compared and contrasted the characteristics of a friend and someone who is friendly.

- Talk on the phone together
- Go to movies, out to eat, shopping
- Confide in each other
- Know you inside and out
- Argue
- Gossip
- Travel together
- Trust each other
- Earn the title of being a “friend”

Friendly is
- Greeting people when you see them
- Helping someone when they need assistance
- Doing kind deeds
- Respecting others for who they are
- Smiling
- Saying nice things to others
- Openness to communication
- Approachability
- Even-Temperedness
- Patience

Although there are some traits that overlap, I think the distinguishing qualities are quite apparent. I can absolutely be friendly with my students without becoming friends. I know if I my best friend was not doing her homework and I said, “Now, friend, what should you be working on now”, I would probably get an eye roll and an “I don’t feel like doing it now. It’ll get done when it gets done”! I know that there is not a whole lot that I could say back to my friend about this situation, but this type of response would be totally unacceptable coming from my students. This whole “friendly but not friends” approach is all coming together now, but I know that it will be even more of a challenge to actually put it into action!

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