Hollywood stereotypes teachers as the huffy-puffy type that everybody hates or the cool one that’s everybody’s friend. According to TV, the former is bad for education, bad for kids, and should be removed from the planet with a spear, a pitchfork, or some other painfully sharp object. The latter, according to TV, should be commended because they care about kids.
As with many issues, Hollywood has given a false portrayal. Although teachers should be friendly with students, they should never be friends. Although teachers should be supportive of students and even involved in their educational development, they should never be friends. A teacher student friendship is not healthy.
Reasons to Avoid Teacher Student Friendships
1) You’re three times their age: If you’re hanging out with teenagers that aren’t related to you in a non-professional, non-teacher mentoring capacity, then you’re a loser.
2) You teach high school. You don’t go to high school: I’m sorry nobody wanted to date you or be your friend when you were sixteen, but let go of the past.
3) It’s kind of creepy: You have to admit it’s kind of creepy.
4) They don’t really want to be your friend: They really don’t. In fact, the last thing they need is a socially undeveloped thirty something dork ruining their parties.
5) You could be accused of something like this: Although you probably aren’t as big of a loser as some, you leave yourself open to accusation by getting too close.
6) Loss of integrity: Becoming friends with your students undermines your authority and makes it difficult to assess students with integrity.
7) Classroom management suffers: When you become friends with your students, it becomes extremely difficult to get them to take you seriously.
8) Get a life: If you had friends of your own, you probably wouldn’t need to befriend people half your age. Get a life already.
9) You don’t want to end up on Dr. Phil: Teacher student friendships sounds like a Dr. Phil episode, but instead of him humiliating some adultering overeater with credit card debt, he’ll be humiliating you.
10) They’re kind of annoying: Don’t get me wrong. I love my students. I am a good teacher mentor. I want them to succeed. I support them in their school-related activities. I provide mentoring when they need it. I give them help when they want it. But man are they annoying!