High School Student
Chinese + Jewish
Q: What do you have in common with your teachers?
A: My friends and I don’t necessarily seek out connection with our teachers at school, and some might say we even actively avoid it, but then again, that is kind of normal for students. I feel perhaps a little more common ground between me and my teachers than the majority of kids, because I enjoy writing and performing and learning and creating and many of the things that teachers do every day. I’ve even considered becoming a teacher myself in time, although that’s way too far off to be certain. The reality is that most often times it’s a love-hate relationship that sits between me and my teachers, for at the same time that I admire what they stand for and share so many interests with them, actually being a student in any public school sort of drives you crazy, as you probably know. Worksheets and standardized tests and long essays... I see these traditional methods of dealing with a large number of kids at once like a type of education mass-production, with all the same compromises and artificial feelings of a literal factory, and an obstacle to being able to relate to anyone who works as part of this institution, whether or not they want it that way.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
A: It matters incredibly much. It’s so much harder to learn from someone who doesn’t understand you. There are ways around this barrier, and as students, we often find ourselves spending most of our time meddling with them: watching tutorials online, learning from each other, taking excessive amounts of notes, cheating, but nothing eases the process like having someone who is devoted to finding what makes your brain click. In my experience this has gotten better and better throughout my school years. We have websites designed to be more attractive to us by interweaving the worlds of social media and academics, and programs to help us form healthier relationships with our peers and mentors, but in the end it’s up to the individual to make it all work out, and the reward for both sides is that we want to learn. It feels meaningful. We want to complete the assignments, not just for our GPA’s and scholarships, but for the sake of learning and growing into better people.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong
Humanizing the gaps separating teachers and students.