High School Student
Q: What do you have in common with your teachers?
A: At my school, it seems like my teachers and I are all busy. We are all busy with school, our families, our responsibilities. Sometimes, how busy our personal lives get impact our school lives, and it seems to be the same for teachers. But it's weird, we lack a mutual understanding of how busy we may all be, even though it's obvious--we all have our own lives. I don't really know my teachers this year on a personal level, so I can only base our similarities on what I can see, and we all have our hands full with many, many things.
However, I can recall times in past years when similarities between students and teachers were truly beneficial to my education. When I used to live in California, my kindergarten class consisted of mainly Spanish-speaking students. Because the target language at my school was English, this language barrier would have been extremely detrimental to all my classmates had our teacher been unable to speak Spanish and English. Unfortunately for me, neither English or Spanish was my first language – I was a native born Korean who had just immigrated to the US.
Though I struggled to catch up to the language levels of my friends, I was still able to enjoy school as our teacher, who was bilingual herself, was understanding of all our language barriers.
Additionally, I distinctly remember my principal and a 5th grade teacher. They were the only Asian staff, one of them being Korean, which really helped out my mom (who could rarely help me with school as she was also native Korean), which helped with my education there as well.
One of my first experiences with the American school system truly showed me the importance of having commonalities with a teacher.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
A: Yes! Regardless of how much a student and a teacher may have in common, any similarities can help start a bond between them. As a student, I know that often times, teachers are held up to certain standards and ideals. When teachers are stereotyped as a general mass of people, it's hard to see them as individuals. When that happens, it's hard to even begin to relate with them, let alone have the WANT to relate with them. Because it's so much easier to understand and learn from someone you relate to, having a connection to a teacher is really important.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong
Humanizing the gaps separating teachers and students.