The Importance of Teacher-Student Relationships
A teacher-Student relationship is an important factor in every child’s education. Now children spend on average 7 hours at school, for 5 days a week, which is on average 35 hours a week. Now if school children spend 35 hours a week for 5 years of compulsory secondary education, then they might as well enjoy what they learn; by that I mean getting on with the work set and working with the teacher to try and get the best grade possible for the subject. But this isn’t always possible, not everybody feels comfortable with a teacher or motivated to do the work, and there can be many reasons why. Teachers, parents and students may ask the question; what makes a good teacher? We have all gone through secondary education whether it is 5 years ago or 30 years ago, and most of us had have the privilege of having a favourite teacher, and because of that teacher, we have got a good grade. The relationship between the teacher and the student determines what their grade in the subject will be, this may seem unethical but a connection with a teacher does have a link to their grade , and here’s why!
Why are Teacher-Student relationships important?
So let me explain a few things, you may ask ‘Why are Teacher-Student relationships important? Or even worth talking about?’ Well even though we have all gone through education, we were all young little people who trusted the teacher to teach us what we need to know, we didn’t see that we had a connection or ‘Relationship’ with them as such but we did know whether or not we thought they were good at what they do. It may not seem important now, as you may have finished your secondary education, but hopefully you will have or do have kids, which means they are going to do everything you have, but harder! This is why it is important to know about Teacher – Student relationships and how they work, how it affects grades, and how it can help them lead to further education such as university.
School is a place to learn and that is the first thing that should be on the student and the teacher's mind when they enter their school every single day. But that isn’t the only thing that helps to make a student successful in school. A strong student – teacher relationship can make a lot of difference in what grades students get. This definitely doesn’t mean that there has to be a personal relationship outside of school, but if both the teacher and student can have a good relationship within the four walls of school then the students stand a much better chance of being grasped.
It is both the students and teachers responsibility to make sure that the relationship they have is a good one, one of which can gain trust and closeness in order to interact with one and other. For example a student can’t have a reasonable relationship with a teacher that is constantly giving the teacher a rough time about everything. Students need to put forth the effort and care enough about themselves to be able to maximize how successful they can be. The teacher is just as responsible. A good teacher cares very much about the success of all students. We have all heard the saying about teacher's pet and that does still happen today. A teacher has to be certain that he/she finds a way to connect with all students, not just their favorites; many students believe that this happens in their school a lot which easily de-motivates students to do their work and do well. It is much harder to form a good student/teacher relationship when both the student and teacher aren't making the attempt to have a good relationship. Though there are excellent teachers in the school system, there are still those who don't take their jobs quite as seriously as they should.
Teachers have to understand that everything they say and do will have an impact on a student's life. Students need, in turn, to understand that a teacher can be pressured so much by students who won't cooperate that they give up on teaching and find other careers because teaching isn't what they thought it was going to be. You can lose a very good teacher just because you gave them a hard time. It doesn't make any sense that you would abandon your own school success just to ignore the rules. Unfortunately, you will be the one, as a student who pays for it in the long run.
During my own secondary education I have seen good student-teacher relationships form and it has an amazing effect on the success of the students. When the student likes and respects the teacher, he/she will be more willing to learn from them. When a teacher likes and respects a student, he/she is more likely to get a positive response from the student and therefore will make the student more successful in his/her school career.
Take my own example for instance, during my secondary education I was never any good at maths, I was in bottom set (set 6) and predicted an ‘E’ in my GCSE maths. I didn’t have a very good relationship with my teacher; he used to always settle in with the more popular students which meant when it came to asking for extra help, I wasn’t really comfortable with asking as we had never really connected. But then I changed into set 3, and we had a new teacher called ‘Mr Fort’. We connected as he was a new teacher and I found it easy to form a good relationship with him, which meant I felt a lot more comfortable asking for extra support. This enabled me to gain a high C in my exam which then enabled me to get a high B on the higher paper. Teachers do have to maintain a certain amount of authority over the students in order to keep the classroom orderly. Teachers don’t have to laud their authority over students as though it were the only thing that will get the students to respond. Authority should be respected and how will you be respected if you don’t treat others with respect. You can certainly let the children know who is in charge without making them feel as though they are in a prison camp somewhere waiting to enter the gas chambers. That is far too much stress for a student to be successful.
One of the most important factors is that students should feel comfortable in coming to a teacher with any questions that they might have. Now it is one thing for a student not to listen in class and therefore fail miserably because of it. It is an entirely different thing for a student to have a hard time grasping the concepts you are trying to teach and the teacher who is not willing to further aid the student in understanding the material. That doesn't mean that you are obligated to help a student beyond the classroom. It simply means that a student who is slower at getting some concepts will suffer greatly if you aren't willing to give them a little extra help. A teacher is no more successful than his or her students are. If teachers find that many of their students are failing, then they may have to look at the possibility that the relationship with their students is sorely lacking. Students should equally look at whether it is most of the students who are having a problem or just themselves with the teacher. If it is just an individual student, they may want to look at their attitude and make adjustments accordingly so that they can have a good relationship with a teacher and find greater success in their schooling.
If students and teachers work together to form good relationships with each other, students will develop a lifelong thirst for learning and will want to continue learning throughout further and higher education, while teachers will reap the benefits of knowing that they were a great influence, in the best way, for their students. Success is right at their fingertips whether they are a student or a teacher. Why not grasp it?
How can a teacher-student relationship be established?
A positive relationship between the student and the teacher according to teachers, is difficult to establish, but can be found for both the teacher and student at either end. The qualities for a positive relationship can vary to set a learning experience approachable and inviting the students to learn. A teacher and student who have the qualities of a skill such as good communications, respect in a classroom, and show interest in teaching from the point of view of the teacher and learning from a student, will establish a positive relationship in the classroom. This report will be focusing on the relationship between the student and teacher, involving a setting in the grades, which I have found to be extremely important for the student to gain a positive attitude for their future education.
There are certain psychological factors that form a positive student-teacher relationship, and this is extremely easy to do as long as both the student and teacher are both willing to try. Firstly, students arrive into secondary education in year 7, normally when they’re 11 – 12 years old, this is a great time to be able to know your teachers and let them judge you, whether or not you are the ideal perfect student, or every teacher’s nightmare, they will always start a new slate with you every year. But the impressions you make in year 7 will always be in their mind, so you have to make up for it. A student needs to respect the teacher before you can even know there name. If there is no respect then they are not even going to bother with you, they’ll get annoyed and just be bored of you, remember you are in competition with your peers to get the best grade, so how your teachers see you is vital so they can be prepared to help you achieve. You need to accept the advice they give you. If they help you then listen, listen to what they have to say and if you disagree, then just say!Teachers love conversation as long as you’re not arguing; you can discuss why it’s that, and why it is not something else. It is best to know why it’s that then just to know what it is. So remember; Why? Why? Why?
Secondly, a teacher always has you interests at heart, so you need to be able to trust their concern, as obviously all they want is for you to do your best, get a grade and be able to do whatever you want to do. Now this may seem false when you’re in a younger year, but remember that you are just at the start of your ‘real’ education and your interest such as what you want to be when you’re older will more than likely swap and change. So don’t think that they’re not bothered because in later years, that is all they will be bothered about. But you do need to prove your determination to do well, if you are the ‘badass’ of the class, and you say you want to be a doctor, then teachers are just going to laugh and be filled with disbelief.
Finally, students need to commit themselves to listen and follow the teacher’s instruction. This means all the stereotypical factors of a ‘bad teacher’ need to leave your mind as just because a teacher uses disciplinary action, doesn’t makes them a bad teacher or any reason for you not to like them. Also it would be your own fault if they do anyway.
Now if you have always followed them three factors, and have been a good student. Then you could feel that the teacher is your best friend, and you would realise that they have levels of responsibility to all his students.
The first responsibility would be that it is the teacher’s job to get to know the student as an individual; this will probe the innermost depths of their hearts whilst examining the outer details of their lives. The teacher’s familiarity will grow so the potency of his advice deepens proportionately.
The second responsibility would be that the teacher needs to express love with affection towards their students. It is affection that melts the students’ natural tendency to resist being told what to do. Which means the advice would enter deeply and effectively. The final responsibility would be that the teacher needs to take time to reflect upon his student’s progress. It is always a nice feeling for students if they know what grade they are working at, even if it is grading each piece of work they do because then they know that they need to improve if needed. This would refine and adjust the teacher’s visions on what is best to influence students towards positive change. This is an on-going requirement as students quickly outgrow old advice.
What can break a teacher-student relationship?
There are allot of things that can break a Teacher student relationship, here is a few examples with a description on why; Favoriting students - Allot of Teachers, especially in the 21st century favoritise students. This is because teachers feel that they are doing a good job, based on one or a group of students grades/results/progress, so teachers tend to focus more on that student/group, getting them to share their answers and be the dominant students in the class. This is really degrading to other students as the extra help isn’t available as the teacher is more focussed on the other student(s). This can cause them to give up on the work as they don’t understand, which demotivates them to continue doing the topic as they wouldn’t know the basics. Teachers shouldn’t favorite students as all students should be equals, no matter their background. Teachers should give equal attention to all students as they aren’t there to make friends, they are there to teach.
Using disciplinary action too much - When a student is misbehaving then disciplinary action may be used. But when it is used all the time, then that’s where it will start to affect the relationship between a teacher and their students as they will eventually pick up the status of being a ‘strict’ teacher, and this can cause hatred towards the teacher. Students shouldn’t be scared of the teacher to the extent of not daring to speak or do anything wrong at all, but students still need to know that there is disciplinary action there if it is required.
Teachers being demotivated to teach - A positive attitude in the classroom encourages a positive lesson. If a teacher isn’t really interested in the subject they teach, their job, the class or set. The how can they expect the students to be? Teachers need to be really passionate about their teaching subject otherwise it will demotivate the students to learn and just do their own thing. Which would just be a total waste of school time. Teachers should not bring personal issues into school or let it affect how they teach as it could have an impact on how much student learn in that day, which could have an affect on the students exam. Students being taught wrong - This is something that can seriously break a student teacher relationship is that when the teacher is teaching the wrong specification, wrong exam board or even the wrong method to do something. This takes the trust away from the students as they believe that the teacher is the expert and when they do something wrong then the students feel that their time is wasted and that the teacher doesn't know what they are going on about.
Unorganised teachers - Every students is expected to be organised and prepared, so this should apply for teachers too. Teachers who haven't created a lesson plan or a significant power point etc will find it very hard to have a teacher student relationship as if the student feels like they aren’t learning anything, or that the teacher isn’t equip, the students are going to feel like they don’t know what they are doing, and don’t care about the students progress. A teacher who loses work or creases and damages work due to organisation will also find it hard as if something is set for the students, then they are spending the appropriate time working on it, and for their hard work to be unlooked after us just going to create hatred towards the teacher.
Misbehaved students - Teachers are normal human being too, so sometimes they do get stressed, angry and annoyed at the fact that students misbehave, especially when they spend all this time preparing and planning the lesson. This can be entirely the students fault as it’s their actions that cause the progression of having to stop the lesson and tell them off. The teacher can have part blame depending on the situation but his is mostly due to a bad relationship, as if the relationship was strong, then students wouldn't be misbehaved in the first place as they know that the opinion on what the teacher thinks of them, matters.
Demotivated students - Everybody, students, teachers etc. Will always have their days of not being bothered, and just being really demotivated to do anything. But a teacher needs to learn to handle it and a students needs to feel re motivated by the teacher in order for them to work to their full potential. This could easily be by the teacher asking the student what's wrong, or hand out achievement points to the ones that are doing well in the lesson, this might make the student want to earn one, and re motivate them. or even sweets and things can motivate students to do their work. What a teacher shouldn't do is recognize that there is something wrong, and then use disciplinary action. This would demotivate the students allot more, and would tear apart a good teacher relationship.
Boring lessons - Every teacher teaches differently, and one of the factors that makes lessons different is the way they are presented. No nobody likes teachers just reading block text off of power points, because basically they are just getting paid to read. Teachers should pick a point and share their own knowledge on the topic, do some examples and find a way to present the information, whilst considering the different ways of learning. One of the best types of learning is for students to actually apply the information physically with activities, trips, experiments etc.
Constant use of textbooks - This links into boring lessons. This is the 21st century where there is the latest technology in schools such as interactive whiteboards etc. So teachers should make the most of it. Creating colourful lessons plans, with maybe some pictures and worked examples can be a real motivator for students as it isn't all cramped up and an eye strain like textbooks are. Students want you to apply your knowledge and teach them the best way of working stuff out, writing stuff, do the specific move, etc. What they don’t want is just to be given a text book to read as all it seems like is a big block of text, and if thats how students feel then they’re not going to do many questions, some might try, but there is nothing worse than going through a big old textbook, especially when there are other teaching methods available.
No extra support provided - Every student who wants to do well would probably want the best support they can get; past papers, one on one tuition, after school clubs. So students need to feel that they have that extra support if needed, especially if they aren’t doing as good as they’d like to. If the teachers doesn't provide this extra support then the student could think that you're not going the extra mile for them, that you’re not particularly bothered about their grades. This can cause a huge breakthrough in a student teacher relationship, as students can only try their best, but need to teachers to guide them. A teacher student relationship can also break in the sense of extra support by the teacher prioritising a class, especially when its a lower qualification or they have more chance to re-sit.
Attitude towards one and other - Everybody has their bad and good days, especially students. But even though students or teachers are in a mood, then it doesn't mean that they should talk to each other differently. Even being sarcastic can have an affect on what one and other think about each other.
These are just a few factors that can break a student teacher relationship. It is important, especially during teacher training and throughout teachers careers that teaching is right for them as teachers do take a lot of strain and they need to be able to try and never stop trying to make a student teacher relationship with every student that they teach.
In conclusion the importance of teacher-student relationship is that there are a never ending list of factors that can tear one apart, and its quite difficult to be able to restore them.