Teachers, like any other segment of society, can be inclined toward bad judgments and associations.
We tend to assume that the “cool teacher” means that teacher’s class must be really easy.
We should want our students to like us, but not because we awkwardly talk about rap music and basketball.
Our students should like us because we seem genuinely interested in their lives, their interests, and their frustrations.
Not only did he not know how to talk to a girl he liked, but he also thought this awkward 34-year-old white guy who tries to teach English in his neighborhood high school was a good place to start. I told him that every person I ever met likes to talk about themselves.
I was never very smooth with the ladies, but I was honored by his bad judgement. But he was more the kind of cool that was going to crush his 30s. Sweater vests, ties with jeans, and conversations about climate change are the kind of thing that coffee dates and wine parties are made of, but they might leave him hanging in high school. So if you are talking to a girl you like, try to ask a lot of questions and let her talk a lot.
It just matters that they listen to their students and ask questions about their lives.
I realize this might sound sappy, but my advice for teachers is to try to get students to like you.
It’s like we’ve been trained to respect the hard ass, and judge the teacher that students actually enjoy. But I’ve seen the “cool teacher” come in all ages, shape, colors, and sizes.
Their styles look more grandpa than GQ, their cultural references are usually 10 years too late, and they might be the farthest thing from smooth.
Not because you want to be the cool teacher, but because you want your students to learn.