Student-Teacher Bond at the Core of Friendly Learning Environment

Oscar Nolf, Sports Editor

Making genuine relationships with people is hard, but making an authentic relationship with teachers at school is even harder due to some teachers’ belief that being professional is the only way relationships are meant to be.

Teachers have the responsibility to make sure all students feel comfortable physically, as well as emotionally. One of the ways that teachers make sure all of their students are comfortable in their classrooms is by engaging with them like real human beings. Teachers achieve this by talking to their students about non-school-related things like a sport a student might take part in.

“I want students to be comfortable and I want them to feel safe. Because, I say this at the beginning of every year. I know that students can’t learn from someone they don’t feel comfortable with,” English teacher Jasmine Schimek said.

Making sure every students’ needs are met is also incredibly important to build a strong professional relationship. Different students need different things, a good teacher will know what a student needs and try to help that student get whatever help they need. For example, most of my current teachers are okay with students studying for other classes or doing other homework for the class when the time is right, but when a substitute teacher comes in, they do not have the relationship needed to know what student needs and so they end up forcing every student to do exactly what is on the plan. These issues with substitute teachers have happened to me and many other students at Sequoia countless times. It’s understandable that substitute teachers would act this way because they don’t have the relationship needed to make decisions like that, but when a teacher acts the same way, then it becomes their fault as they have the duty, as well as the means, to make the choices needed to help students thrive.

“Teachers typically will put out a survey, to know more about their students,” Vice Principal Gary Gooch explained. “The teacher will be able to say, I know, student X and I really think I could help a little more in this way. Student X sees the teacher reaching out. And then student X says, ‘Wow, this teacher really cares about me and I can go to this teacher and communicate if I’m having a problem.’”
Respect is one of the key ingredients to good relationships, both at school and outside of school. We’ve been taught since the first day of school in first grade; treat others the way you want to be treated, this defines respect. Showing interest in others and treating everyone like they are smart is being respectful. I think some teachers have not yet understood this; when a teacher doesn’t listen to their student’s ideas and just talks at them instead of having an open and mutual conversation with them, students don’t feel respected because their ideas aren’t respected, which leads to them not being engaged in the class.

“There’s an old expression called the ‘sage on the stage’, which is when the teacher is in the front of the room and they know everything, everybody else shuts up and listens,” Schimek explained.

Having a good relationship with your student/teacher is important, but the limit to these relationships are sometimes hard for students to grasp.

“Little kids and adolescents need boundaries. They need like that hard line. And I think and, and in my experience, like even when I was a new teacher, if you let it go past that boundary that you’ve set, like you let one kid break one rule,” Schimek said. “I remember a teacher told me, if one of your rules doesn’t matter, then none of your rules matter. And then it creates kind of chaos. Then you’ve lost control and then no one in the room is learning. And at the end of the day, our job is to deliver an education.”

It is incredibly important for teachers to figure out how to achieve this balance between making students comfortable while remaining professional. Some teachers need to figure this out so students are able to have the learning experience they deserve.