The question of strict or caring need not be an “either/or” question. The most successful teachers are a combination of both.
The best teachers are strict yet caring. I strive to be both. Students need routines, boundaries and rules in order to feel safe, and it is important that teachers build and maintain classroom environments that are structured and streamlined. Rules need to be adhered to adamantly and classroom management needs to be consistent. Strict teachers are able to enforce rules, but the students need to know these rules serve a purpose and that the teacher is strict because he or she cares.
Students need to know their teachers are invested in their success and that they care about their students.
Teachers play a balancing role between instructor, mentor, friend and disciplinarian. If students do not innately feel their teacher has their best interests in mind, they will have little motivation to perform. However, a student who yearns to make his or her teacher proud can be an exceptional student.
When a student can relate to the teacher, a bond forms. This bond builds a classroom community fostered in trust and respect. It is in classrooms such as these that the most genuine learning takes place and it is the teachers who are caring yet strict who are able to create such an environment and relationship.