What should be the relationship between teacher and students?

Very impressive talk here by Rita Pierson.

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

These sound good to me.  “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”  This equally applies to adults.  Adults don’t learn from people they don’t like, especially when that is against the will of the adult.

So, isn’t it human nature in socialising, in valuing human relationship?  We all want to build a positive relationship with each other, not only for teacher and student (kids in particular), but throughout our walk of life.

Perhaps, it is difficult to repair a broken relationship, or to say sorry when we have done something wrong to others, whether they are our parents, kids, teachers, relatives, friends, or colleagues.

It’s important to keep a good relationship under all circumstances, as mentioned by Rita: “to understand others before being understood”, a quote from the Seven Habits of Stephen Covey.  But understanding between people is a two way process, and this goes deeper into empathy.

Unfortunately, there are subtle power relationship embedded in any relationship, and such power is never equally distributed between the two parties, especially when there are differences in values and motives in the parties concerned.  So the interests and motives of a teacher and a student is different, and this must be acknowledged.  Do students always try to please the teachers, in order to obtain a higher grade, or marks, or individual attention?

When people have different rights and opinions, conflicts do arise.  And if these conflicts are not resolved constructively, then the relationship goes sour.

Sometimes, one of the biggest hurdles we have is our desire to change others, or influence others, without consideration of the actual needs and feelings or emotional status of others.  We may then need to reflect on how we could make good use of our Emotional and Social Intelligence to manage ourselves and help and support others.

I am often concerned on the “manipulation” that comes out of relationship, in that sometimes, we might be unconsciously manipulating others, or being manipulated, either as a student or a teacher, a boss or a colleague, or a parent or a child.

In other words, teachers and students may fall into the trap of pleasing each others, just for the sake of getting praises and positive feedback in order to survive in the respective role.  The question is: What would I (we) like to get out of this relationship?  And why?

Is relationship building strong in a world where entrepreneurship and excellence comes and counts first?  I don’t know.

Here is my previous post relating to good to great teachers.

Do you make a difference as a teacher?  See this profound answer from an educator.


2 thoughts on “What should be the relationship between teacher and students?

  1. Pingback: What should be the relationship between teacher...

  2. Pingback: What should be the relationship between teacher and students? | Learner Weblog | Learning Curve

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