James McCrosky was a communication researcher that studied teacher credibility at great length.
One consistent theme McCrosky (1992) found was that 'perceived caring' from the student's perspective influenced how the teacher was viewed.
If the student perceives the teacher as caring, then credibility goes up. If not, you know what happens.
The three elements McCrosky found were empathy, understanding, and responsiveness.
To me, this is another reminder that my role as a teacher is as human of a job that there is.
So, how does one become perceived as more caring?
Start with yourself.
There is no way we can become more empathetic, understanding or responsive to our students when we can't be these things for ourselves.
Invest in yourself.
Perceive yourself as these things so you can begin doing them in your classroom.
You'll be happier and your students will care more about you because you care about yourself.