High School Student
Q: What do you have in common with your teachers?
A: I have never been a talker. I usually just listen to what my teachers have to say and then do my work. But every now and then my teachers and I have a small chit chat in the middle of class. Just yesterday me and my math teacher had a conversation about how weird and funny our pets are.
Since I'm not a big talker I mostly learn about my teachers through my peers. They tell me about another teacher being a 'straight up savage' and we laugh and joke about it. I've also learned that some of the teachers like and play the same video games me and my friends like to play!
I feel like I really started to connect with my teachers in high school. In elementary school and middle school I felt I never got to really know my teachers--not because they were mostly White Women and I am a Filipino Male--but because I didn't get to know them as a person; a human being. I feel as if I lost that opportunity to get to know them and for them to get to know me. But it's hard to get to know a person when all the talk is focused on what's going in our textbooks or about a test that's going to be taken the next week or at the end of the school year.
There is one teacher that I will never forget from elementary school (especially with a name like hers how can you forget!). Her name was Ms.Star. She was my 4th grade teacher. At the time I was just starting to love art! I remember I would draw all the posters on my cousin's walls and she would show me all the drawings she drew. She inspired me to also start drawing and I fell in love with it! Ms.Starr loved arts and crafts a lot, unlike the other teachers. She was really into making handwritten and custom-made cards. She would tell us stories of how her and her friends would meet up and create together as well show us her cards in class. I felt like I could understand her love for making those cards and I could connect with her on that personal level.
Although I have never shared the same culture or race with my teachers I feel like that it doesn't matter because all of my teachers have always treated me with respect despite our race and culture differences. Being able to say that must be very lucky for me compared to what other kids across the country and around the world have to go through. Especially for one of my friends who I talk to who lives across the country. Her relationship with her teachers aren't good and it doesn’t only affect her in school but also at home as well. I wish I could say the same for her.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
A: I strongly believe that it is important for students and teachers to have things in common.
Getting to know your students and teachers is not only the first step to becoming a better learner but also creating good connections. Because at the end of the day (and it's been said many times and sometimes we forget) we are all human.
It doesn’t matter if the setting is within classroom walls or it's out in the grocery store, we are all still human no matter what. And being human is being able to communicate and communication plays a huge role in education as well as the path of life.
Getting to know your teachers creates the trust needed between a student and teacher and vice versa. If you get to know your teacher as if they were a friend you start to respect them more and become more engaged in topics they bring in class. I believe that this special bond is important in order to keep students engaged and interested in the curriculum they are learning about.
It's part of the teacher's job to connect with the students. It's their job to keep our ideas running and to show us that our thoughts and dreams are not impossible to achieve! But it's also their job to be second parents for the student, because students spend most of the day with their teachers rather than their parents, especially if both of the parents work long hours.
The teacher should be someone who students can talk to and trust if they don’t feel okay at home or at school. And as of right now, in the world we live in today it's really important for someone to be there for them.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong
Humanizing the gaps separating teachers and students.