“When I Speak, You Listen!”

This is phrase I borrowed from my former head of department to reinforce the principle that students must listen to me. As you can see, I am not a pro at teaching if I have still have issues with students listening to me. I’ve found this to be the most challenging part of teaching because once you can get all of the students to listen to you and follow your directions, your job becomes invariably easier. With adolscent learners, especially middle schoolers, this task feels as though it is nearly impossible.

I’ve learned that one of the best ways of getting students to listen to me is to first listen to them. In other words, build a good rapport with students. I think this is easier with high school students that have an idea of who they are and why they come to school. As for 11 and 12 year olds, this is a different ball game. Yes, you want to have a good relationship with them, but you also have to be the authority figure that lays down the law. The cultural context that you live in also shapes the relationships that you have with students. For example, when I worked in an inner-city school in the States, a nice and polite teacher was considered weak and a push over. So, naturally, I learned to be tough and to deal with the students in a rough manner. This disposition has earned me cheers and jeers where I presently work due to a climate of “I can have whatever I want and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Fortunately, or unfortunately, I don’t enable my students to be more spoiled than they already are. As a result, I’m usually not the popular teacher or at least not the one that all of the kids like. Nonetheless, I did not get into teaching to be liked or popular, but to do a job. A good job.

So, how do I get all of the students to listen to me when I want them to? I’m still working on that.


3 thoughts on ““When I Speak, You Listen!”

  1. You should build a characteristic that would let your students have respect for you and love you at the same time. I beleive if your students show you respect, you will be confident about yourself and also, if they show you love, this will boost your confidience even more. A bad teacher would make students feel scared from her, and would even feel afraid to go up to her and ask her a question. From your writing I’ve got a feeling that you are a good well respected teacher, am I right?


  2. No, SJP, you are sadly mistaken.

    Instead of listening to her students and trying to “build a good rapport” with them, she undermines their intelligence and is quite condescending towards them when they ask for for her assistance with something or when they complain to her about anything.

    If she were the person she is trying to portray to us in this blog, she would listen to her students’ needs. They would love her. And all would be merry and jolly. But sadly this is not the case. They are DYING inside. They are starving from the deprivation of her love and support. Oh, the injustice! Oh, the hypocrisy!

    The only words she has to offer in response to any complaints are “mmm” or “okay.”

    All they ask is that you simply listen.


    1. Obviously, this comment was written by a former student of mine. Too bad she chose to hide her identity, which restricts the ability to initiate discussion on her areas concerns.

      All I can say is that no one is perfect, especially teachers. Believe it or not, most of us work very hard and care deeply about our students. And, we do actually listen to and implement students’ feedback, even it does not initially seem apparent. I think everyone on this planet can benefit from a bit of self-reflection and consider which areas of personal improvement he or she should focus on. In this way, SadAndNeglected would not feel neither “sad” nor “neglected” when dealing with interpersonal relationships.


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