One of the first things I tell my student teachers is, “Don’t be their friend.” This is one lesson that new teachers have a tough time learning. We all want to be connected with the students. We want them to trust us and want to see us as their friend, but it’s important to create that separation between student and teacher early, and maintain it throughout the year. If not, you’re going to have a hard time implementing any kind of discipline program in your class.
With all the new ways to keep in touch with friends, like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter,and others, you will get a lot of requests to be on their “friend” list. Don’t do it, at least not right away.
I get many Facebook friends requests from current and former students. As of this writing, I have 97 pending friend requests. I tell my students in the beginning, that I will not be their friends on Facebook until they’ve been out of my class for two years. If after two years, they still want me to be on their friends list, then I’ll accept their request. Even then, I think twice about it, especially if the student was memorable for the wrong reasons. You have to maintain that “professional distance.” It’s a tough thing to do for new teachers, but trust me, it will make all the difference in the world when it comes to discipline. You can still create a connection with your students, but it has to remain a teacher-student connection.