Middle School Student
Q: What do you have in common with your teachers?
A: I had a few connections with my first grade teacher. When I was six, in first grade, I had just moved from China. My parents already knew a lot about English. On my first day of school, my head was still full of Mandarin dialects. I knew little English during that period of my life. I had to take a class with others my age and that class would help me learn English more fluently.
I would always ask my first grade teacher what others had asked her. For example, a student near me asked her how to spell a word. Then I would ask the teacher how to spell a word as well, but a word I already knew how to spell so I could make sure that the answer was what I thought it was.
My teacher knew that I was learning a lot and starting to understand English more. It did not impact me a lot with my teachers being from a different area than me. I loved their personalities.
In addition, my fifth grade teacher and I had a very strong bond when we would do writing with our class. When we had conferences, each time I would get to know her a bit more personally.
I honestly feel like having a race connection with your teacher does not matter at all, personality matters more. If you know each other personally, it helps you have a stronger bond. That is much more important than where you are from and what language you speak.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
A: It might have been easier for me if some of my teachers were Chinese too. Mostly, I think being from different areas is what makes us unique.
I think that one of the most important things in school is to have a bond with a certain teacher you know personally. It feels like you and the teacher have a special link. Just like a friend.
The first step to becoming a friend with another person is knowing more about them. If you never knew that person, you will not be friends. It is the same with knowing teachers. That is why a bond with a teacher is important.
Another thing is that when you are connected to a teacher, you are more likely to give attention to their lessons, and that way you have a larger learning opportunity. A bond like that is important becuase not all students are very engaged in what teachers have to say.
Sometimes when you know more about your teacher than your classmates, you feel special since it is like a secret no one else knows about. That is another reason why having a bond with your teacher is significant. You might be more willing to talk to that teacher if you have a stronger connection with them.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong
Humanizing the gaps separating teachers and students.