Teacher-Student Relationships: The Key to Sucess
I know from my personal experiences at Lakota East High School that the relationship between a student and their teacher can have a huge impact on how well a student does. My junior and senior year of high school, I dated the principal’s son. This might not seem like it would make that big of a difference but I earned better grades during those two years of my high school career and I found school much more enjoyable. The reason why I was able to enjoy those years of school so much was due to my unique relationship with the teachers. Since I was in a relationship with the son of a faculty member, I got to see the teachers outside of school at family functions as well as other parties. During these gatheringsI got to know my teachers on a more personal level and they got to know my likes and dislikes and more about me as a person. This knowledge of my personality carried over into the classroom. I was more comfortable in the classroom setting and since I knew the teachers on a personal level it was easier for me to listen to them and care about what they are saying. Because of this I got more out of their lectures and in turn, did better on the quizzes, tests and projects.
According to Hoffman and Leak, we cannot teach students if we do not know them well (Strengthening Teacher-Student Relationships). Learning about who your students are as individuals will eventually help you to help them be successful in their learning. It will also make them feel closer to you as a person, not a teacher, and they may be able to take more of the class lectures to heart, like I did.Learning about your students could be as simple as handing out a survey on the first day of class with questions from “do you work better individually or in groups?” or “Do you benefit more from copying notes off the board or doing a more interactive way of learning?”. It may even help to learn about your student’s interests that don’t have to do with school. To learn these things you could ask things like “What is your favorite food?” or “what is your favorite animal?”. This way you know what to talk about in those dull moments that tend to occur throughout the school day and it makes the students think that to you they are more than just a pupil in a classroom, their likes and dislikes and who they are as a person actually matters. Because I was doing so well I was also able to take full advantage of extracurricular activities and participate in a lot of other events and organizations around the school. If a student doesn’t earn good enough grades they aren’t eligible to participate in these extracurricular activities and events making their school experience less enjoyable.If a teacher has a good, more personal relationship with their teacher the student will most likely respect their teacher more making their school experience a more comfortable one. According to Marzano and Marzano, the quality of the relationship between a student and their teacher is the basis for all other parts of classroom management (Strengthening Teacher-Student Relationships). If you don’t have a good relationship between a teacher and a student the student will have more difficulty learning and succeeding in the classroom.
At the end of the day the most important thing in the classroom environment is the relationship between the student and the teacher. Of course, there are boundaries that exist in this matter. It remains inappropriate for teachers and students to spend excessive amounts of time together outside of school and things of that sport. These boundaries, however, are obvious and if the appropriate steps are taken into researching how to develop a closer relationship between teacher and student no problems should arise. A good relationship can result in better grades, more comfort and just an overall better educational experience, not only for the student but also for the teacher. My story and personal experiences with this matter are undeniable proof that a good relationship within the classroom is, in fact, very beneficial.
Michigan Department of Education. Strengthening Student-Teacher Relationships, 2001. Web. 6 April 2011.