Oh, I suppose you can be amiable with them. You can demonstrate kindness to them. But please don't be their friend. Undoubtedly, you risk maintaining your authority when you do so.
I hope that doesn't sound too harsh. Don't misread me: I'd like to have more friends. And it that shouldn't be taken as in the teacher is the supreme commandant of the stalag, the micromanager of the office, master of slaves.
Indeed, you can never have too many friends.
Says James Taylor, You've got a friend.
Says Randy Newman, You've got a friend in me.
Says Barbra Streisand, People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.
John Denver: Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy.
Coca Cola: I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.
Johnny Cash: I fell into a burnin' ring of fire.
But I digress.
I'd like to have more friends, but my students should not be among them. I tell them that when they are out of our school, that when they see me after they have left for middle school, I will be their friend. Until that time, they must recognize that I have a job to do regarding their lives.
You see, we treat our friends differently than we do our bosses and teachers. We say things to our friends that we shouldn't say to our teacher of our preacher. We act differently around our friends than we do around our teacher. Let's not invite unwanted treatment by calling our students our friends.
It's not that I don't love my students and want the best for them. I just want to postpone using the term.