The teacher student relationship is very important for children. Children spend approximately 5 to 7 hours a day with a teacher for almost 10 months. We ask ourselves what is considered a good teacher? All of us have gone through schooling, and if fortunate had a favorite teacher. A positive relationship between the student and the teacher is difficult to establish, but can be found for both individuals 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 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. I will be focusing on the relationship between the student and teacher, involving a setting in the primary grades, which I have found second grade to be extremely important for the student to gain a positive attitude for their future education.
Children have different strategies for learning and achieving their goals. A few students in a classroom will grasp and learn quickly, but at the same time there will be those who have to be repeatedly taught using different techniques for the student to be able to understand the lesson. On the other hand, there are those students who fool around and use school as entertainment. Teaching then becomes difficult, especially if there is no proper communication. Yet, teachers, creating a positive relationship with their students, will not necessarily control of all the disruptive students. The book, Responsible Classroom Discipline written by Vernon F. Jones and Louise Jones discuss how to create a learning environment approachable for children in the elementary schools. According to the Jones, “ Student disruptions will occur frequently in classes that are poorly organized and managed where students are not provided with appropriate and interesting instructional tasks” (101).
The key is, teachers need to continuously monitor the student in order for him or her to be aware of any difficulties the student is having. Understanding the child’s problem, fear, or confusion will give the teacher a better understanding the child’s learning difficulties. Once the teacher becomes aware of the problems, he or she will have more patience with the student, thus making the child feel secure or less confused when learning is taking place in the classroom.
The communication between the student and the teacher serves as a connection between the two, which provides a better atmosphere for a classroom environment. Of course a teacher is not going to understand every problem for every child in his or her classroom, but will acquire enough information for those students who are struggling with specific tasks. A significant body of research indicates that “academic achievement and student behavior are influenced by the quality of the teacher and student relationship” (Jones 95). The more the teacher connects or communicates with his or her students, the more likely they will be able to help students learn at a high level and accomplish quickly.
The teacher needs to understand that in many schools, especially in big cities like Los Angeles, children come from different cultures and backgrounds. A teacher then needs to understand the value of the students' senses of belonging, which can be of greater value and build self worth for minority students. If the teacher demonstrates an understanding of the student’s culture, it will provide a better understanding between the teacher and the student. Though there are students who have a difficult time in school and according to David Thomas essay, “The Mind of Man” states, “children who are yelled at feel rejected and frightened because a teacher shouts at them” (Thomas 122). The example above demonstrates the feelings the child has towards the teacher leading to inhibiting the child from learning. The reasons for children to be yelled at vary from teacher to teacher, but shouting should not be the solution for children who find education a difficult process or simply lack of learning experiences, but sometimes teachers find yelling at the child as the only quick solution.
Therefore, those teachers who demonstrate respect towards their students, automatically win favor by having active learners in their classroom. The arrogant or offensive teacher will lack these positive qualities due to his or her lack of control over the children. Teachers should assert that they should also be treated with respect and their responsibilities to ensure that students treat each other with kindness. According to the Jones, “teachers are encouraged to blend their warmth and firmness towards the students in their classroom, but with realistic limits” (111).
Another point, I have often found critical, are the number of times the teacher does not correct the students who find calling names to their classmates amusing. Children who are teased or bullied by other children find themselves being victimized by their peers. Children who have become victims of this nature find learning difficult. They will be stressed out not only by trying to achieve academically, but also because the names they have been appointed by their classmates are destructive, demeaning, and destroy self esteem. Therefore, it is important for teachers to have children respect each other. Usually, a type of lesson involving with self-esteem can be an excellent activity for children who are involved in this destructive nature.
Teachers who are in a classroom everyday have experienced one time or another the student(s) who are disruptive and/or find learning boring. Teachers understand that if this behavior continues in the classroom and if they do nothing to prevent this from happening, the outcome proves to be disastrous for both types of participants. The student will conclude that his or her behavior is permissible, and will draw away from learning, therefore it is essentially important for the teacher to explain to the child the importance to learn. Though we understand that learning cannot be forced. Learning becomes a process for an individual where he or she feels comfortable with learning whether it’s in a classroom or at home. Mike Rose explains in “Lives on the Boundary” that “It is what we are excited about that educates us” (106). Rose’s quote can be applied to children at an early age, just as well as it can be applied to adults.
Definitely children learn when they enjoy learning, but also they need some control over the teacher (s) decisions. “Authoritarian control is often destructive to students who are in the primary grades, and eventually upper grades teachers have difficulty dealing with children who were taught with an authoritarian teacher” (Jones 215). Children in primary grades feel the urge to talk about their problems, fears, or even show their knowledge, but at the same time they want to be listened too. The student will feel valued and respected. Students feel flattered when the teacher eventually gives them the option of contributing, or in other words the teacher asks for an opinion, which is usually not offered to the students. The teacher(s) does not have to give up all their control, rather teachers share control with students and encourage interactions that are determined by mutual agreement.
For teachers conducting a classroom and shaping the minds of the young students, teachers who communicate effectively with their students should give appropriate and helpful feedback to their students. Interaction between the student and teacher becomes extremely important for a successful relationship through the entire time of a school year. A close, but limited relationship between the student and teacher can be helpful for those students who are shy, and find speaking in front of the classroom difficult or children who have low self-esteem. The tension these students hold in a classroom will have the confidence they had always wanted, but never achieved due to not having a good relationship with the teacher.
Another important point is raised when teachers think of themselves as “traditional” are following the canonical approach. The traditional teachers follow the famous list of books to be read by his or her students. Many children will not enjoy reading because they do not have the background to understand the material. They do not have any interest in the book, which makes reading confusing and difficult to understand. “Students have felt what mattered most was the relationship teachers established with their students providing guidance to students who have felt inadequate or threatened” (Rose 115). Teachers who follow the traditional curriculum do not necessarily need to focus on their traditional ideas, but rather interact with their students and find interesting topics to discuss with their students.
Therefore, how does a teacher hold a relationship that leads to effectively teach the children? The answer becomes clear when teachers interact with, and learn more about their students. Our first educational experience, which takes place in the primary years of our life, sets the principles for our future education. Every school year an elementary teacher deals with new faces and new attitudes. Some children find themselves lacking an interest in learning and others feel playing and fooling around at school with friends is the happiest moment of their life. The solution to inappropriate behavior will not automatically get rid of the poor attitude of these children, but is to establish a positive relationship. Teachers can establish a positive relationship with their students by communicating with them and properly providing feedback to them. Respect between teacher and student with both feeling enthusiastic when learning and teaching. Having established a positive relationship with students will encourage students to seek education and be enthusiastic and to be in school. Remembering our favorite teacher will be recognized because they had at least in one way or another the qualities I discussed in this essay, although we are not aware of it during the time we are in school, but teachers are well recognized at a later time of our lives.
Jones, Vernon F., and Louise Jones. Responsible Classroom Discipline. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1981. 95-215.
Rose, Mike. “Lives on the Boundary.” The Presence of Others. Ed. Marilyn Moller. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2000. 106-115.
Thomas, David. “Lives on the Boundary.” The Presence of Others. Ed. Marilyn Moller. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. 122.