Looking good

The best-looking teachers are rated by students as the best teachers, according to a University of Texas study. The effect is larger for male teachers.

My fifth-grade teacher was brand-new and stuck with a class of 37 students. I thought she wasn’t very good, but the boys all liked her. She’d been a beauty queen in college. She certainly kept their attention.

Via Michael Friedman.

About Joanne


  1. Brian Reilly says:

    Robert Rosenthal did research at Harvard on student ratings of teachers (high school and college who had high ratings by other methods) by comparing the evaluations given by students who had the instructors for a semester and by students who watched a video of the instructor. Both sets of students produced similar evaluations. The scary part is that the teaching videos students watched were 10 seconds long and had no sound, so the evaluations were based on appearance and body language. The study was repeated with 5 second videos and had the same results. Similar research was done on job interviews and people watching 10 seconds of video were able to predict who would get hired and who would not as accurately as people who sat through the actual interviews.

    When was the last time a bald man was elected President?

  2. Well, I know that it works for me.

  3. Hmph.

    try this

  4. Prof. T– I got paid a big fat chunk of money for suggesting to a local private college that they make profs. put their photos on their websites.

  5. Richard Heddleson says:

    1956. But he had conquered half of Europe.

  6. Of course his opponent, Adlai Stevenson, was called an egghead.

  7. Time to instate quotas for the uglo-americans…

  8. Walter Wallis says:

    When a co-worker told me she voted for Ike because she would never vote for a divorced man, I stopped talking to her.
    Then Ike started all the middle east trouble when he let Egypt steal the Suez canal, demonstrating that the West was a woosie.
    I wish I could have told her about Kay.

  9. She was a better teacher.


    Because she had half her students hanging off of her every word.

    Serioulsy though, it is hardwired into humans. Did you know that tall men earn more on average than short men? There was a study done where college women were given pictures and biographies of men and asked to rate them. Short men (5′ – 5’2″) men were rated the same as murderes in rems of desireability, even when the short men were doctors and lawyers.

    Byna, pities the little people.

  10. I once had a 50-60 year old teacher that wore, off and on, short-short miniskirts (shorter than any of the girls in class had the decency to wear) and shirts with Warner Bros. cartoon characters embroidered on them. On days where she wore the former, I would just stare at my desk the whole time. Sometimes she wore both, and that was just confusing.

    Not that she was a good teacher or pleasant person otherwise, but she just added an additional degree of dislike to my assessment by making it psychologically disturbing to look at her.

  11. Michael, you look really cranky in that picture.

  12. Of course, part of what makes people “attractive” is skull bones that lead to easily read facial expressions. People also tend to rate people who smile often as attractive. Both of these qualities are good, I think, in teachers at least up to some difficult high school subjects.

  13. PJ/Maryland says:

    When was the last time a bald man was elected President?

    Does Al Gore count?

    … People also tend to rate people who smile often as attractive….

    J.C. has a good point, but I think it goes even further. Granted there’s not much anyone can do about their height (yet), but someone with a good income will have better-looking clothes, better haircut, make-up, etc. The correlation isn’t all one way.

  14. Brian Reilly says:

    “Does Al Gore count?”

    Not in Florida…

    Those bald presidential candidates (and Eisenhower) came before television was so influential. Doesn’t the taller candidate almost always win the election?

    It says here that since television has become part of the election process, the shorter candidate has only won twice — Carter over Ford and Bush over Gore. Kerry is 6′ 4″…

    Dick Vitale, on the ESPN NCAA tournament show yesterday, to Nick Lachey — “I wish I had your hair, baby! … I’m ugly!”
    Dick is a former high school teacher better known for his television work, so there are exceptions. He’s also short.

  15. D. Cooper says:

    Don’t know how looks will play out here with Kerry … he looks like Ted Kennedy on the South Beach diet.

  16. Justthisguy says:

    Mr. Tinkler,if you’d lose those fashionable modern specs and getcha some genuine 1959 Ted Taylor-Ed Heinemann nerd glasses, maybe we could respect you for yer mind.

  17. My freshman year, we had a new teacher who had just graduated from college. Having a 22 year old drop dead gorgious english teacher was like winning the lottery. And to boot she was a football fan. Life was very good if you talked to any of the boys. It didn’t help that her name was Mrs. Honea.

    I must say though, that by the time I started my junior year, I had a well defined list of who I thought the best teachers were, and she didn’t even make the list. The teacher who topped it is, 9 years of higher education later, still in the top 3 (I’m limiting the list to those who taught me in a school setting). She was Mrs. Sams and she taught math. I probably would have thought she was quite attractive had she not been forty something. But the #2 teacher in High School for me was Mrs. Martin, who taught all of the english and literature courses above freshman level. She was very uninteresting physically. She was in her late forties or maybe even early fifties and while I would not call her fat, she was over weight. The two of them, also had very different personalities and reputations. Mrs. Sams was energetic with a broad sense of humor and a quick wit and a reputation for being a lot of fun in class. Mrs. Martin was more formal and serious. She had a reputation for being strict and her classes were said to be hard academically. And in fact both of them taught classes that required work and discipline, but yielded educational treasure.


  1. chris says:

    why i should focus on research (and not a teaching)

    The authors suggest (and I suspect) the end-of-semester survey data they use may not be an accurate reflection of teaching productivity. But even if the measure is not a good one, it can affect job evaluations and consequently promotions and salaries.

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