I knew a kid that could regularly “get away” with being rude to his teachers.
(Keep in mind. From what I’ve learned from you guys, this isn’t always useful in all cultures.)
Every single time one of his friends walked into the classroom…
He would get completely distracted and talk to his friend for like 10 seconds…
Then the teacher would interrupt him…
Then he’d close his mouth and offer some kind of a hand signal showing he was sorry.
I saw him do this 3 or 4 times in a single class. And honestly, I don’t think the teacher did anything but smile and roll her eyes when he did this.
Not every kid could get away with this…
(In fact, one time, this kid was making sounds humming some song… the teacher thought it was me and I got a long lecture… My bet: if she realized it was him – she would have looked at him sternly and he would have politely shut up. Unfair? Maybe. I have no proof & it’s not important to the point anyway. And she did apologize to me later when she found out… never giving the original kid a lecture.)
This kid that could get away with being rude because he wasn’t “out-of-character” being super friendly. That’s where he developed this “special treatment,” (in my opinion.)
He would walk into the classroom and immediately start talking to the teacher about anything and everything. He would talk to me if I was the only guy there. He would have probably talked to a janitor or a dog or a bird sitting outside the window.
He was just a talker. And talking was just him being himself.
And at the end of the school year – the teacher really liked him. Because… other than being a little rude… he was a likable person.
9 out of 10 teachers liked this guy… The 10th guy is why I recommend a little more politeness.
That being said… Teacher number 10 usually makes it very clear that he/she won’t play ball. At that point, this kid could probably have reigned in the interruptions and been fine.
That’s just reading the situation.
Though I emphasized the value of politeness this week-
My real goal is – don’t treat your teachers like space aliens.
As one reader said – don’t be creepy.
Treat your teachers like you would any fellow human being. Greet them if that’s what you do. Be shy if you’re shy. I hate saying this because it’s hokey and hard to follow but “be yourself.”
And that comes down to a question on my essay writing advice too…
Sounding “academic” for most students… means pretending they’re writing as if they’re someone they’re not. They try to act smart while writing, instead of writing from their own personality. (Because they’re not naturally stuffy academics.)
And more often than not… they end up writing something that no one enjoys (not even the student writing it.)
Breaking this down:
Pretending to be someone you’re not is a recipe for disaster.
If you ACT super friendly hoping you can win over your teacher, you’ll probably end up acting in a way that isn’t very likable. It’s safer to be yourself + politeness.
If you ACT like you’re a smart academic while writing – hoping you can convince your teacher, you’ll probably end up writing something that nobody enjoys very much.
Anything could be the specific thing that gives you away as “ACTING.” Acting is a full time job. People train for years at it.
The key problem is pretending in the first place…
Your personality probably has wonderful assets. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a handful of unlikable quirks too 🙂
Both of those things give you a unique (and not-boring) character.
All the world might be a stage but you don’t have to act like you’re somebody that you’re not.
People have empathy for human beings with real personalities. If people think you’re just an actor on a stage playing a role then you’re going to be judged like an actor on a stage.
(No one breaks into tears when a really bad actor in a show acts hurt. It’s hard to be sad when you the character doesn’t seem real.)
This kid that could get away with being rude…
He could get empathy from the teacher because the teacher knew… he was just that kind of a friendly talker.
I’m not a friendly talker. I’m an introvert. If I were to do the same thing – the teacher would see that as out of character – and that would risk destroying any empathy she has.
The key isn’t WHAT YOU DO.
The key is what you don’t do.
Don’t damage your relationship with the teacher.
That goes with most of this stuff.
If you study for 6 hours a night then you’re going to eviscerate your motivation… your focus… your ability to learn…
Don’t do it.
I think this is called via negativa. Sometimes taking away the bad is more important than adding in the good.
How To Kick-Ass In Class goes into those things you shouldn’t be doing. It also goes into the handful of things you should be doing. (The 15MSS is best thought of as a via negativa solution. Arguably, it’s not what you do that matters. It’s what the 15MSS forces you to stop doing. When you stop it, your brain kicks in and does what it does naturally and almost automatically.)
Be yourself. Acting is for professionals. Do it wrong and you’ll screw yourself more than you could possibly help yourself.
Last night, I was prompted to think about this by some reader questions. This morning at 5 AM… I woke up after having a dream about this kid I haven’t thought of in years… Then I just had to write this. That means it’s either inspired or completely insane. 😀
Let me tell you (an inappropriate) true story…
It was high school Spanish class…
I was a Senior in a class of Sophomores. There was one other Senior in the class. Best of all –
She was smokin’ (as the old folk say.) She was gorgeous. 10 out of 10. Tight jeans. And she always sat right in front of me in class (gulp.)
We were the only Seniors in the class. By default… that made me the coolest guy there… And trust me… I’m never the coolest guy there.
But we’d talk. Sometimes in class she’d lean over. I’d continue to pretend me importa la espanol stuff pero… Seriousamente… 😛
Sure… I’d show up to class. But my brain rarely stuck around for the lecture. And that’s why you might not be surprised I was getting a C- in class.
It’s funny how that stuff that distracted me in highschool wasn’t so problematic in college where I took a double course load and still scored near the top of my class…
You don’t need to be perfect to score near perfect.
You just need to know how…