High School Student
Q: What do you have in common with your teachers?
A: We are all trying to get out of this place as fast as possible. Despite the large initial differences seen between teachers and students including race, age, economic status and upbringings; in my opinion and experience what makes the bond between teachers and students tight ends up being much mores simple than one would think. In my experience, it's the attitude of the teacher and their approach to students that really creates a strong relationship, not a "young, hip, relatable" teacher.
Even the oldest teachers, with the right attitude have kept it real, and have made class that much more interesting. There's no petty complaining or nagging, it's reality and they understand that kids will either do work or not, and it is really up to the kids to do their work. This ends up making the whole atmosphere of the class more relaxed and casual. In my opinion, this realization is more important than any knowledge that is taught throughout high school.
While younger teachers generally have been easier to work with than the older teachers I have had to work with, I have come to the realization that the way the teacher addresses the students, as equals and real people, not children, adds respect into the classroom and allows the students and teachers to be eye-to-eye and have a greater understanding for each other. This helps both teachers and students achieve what they have set out to while being at school. This respect has increased as I worked my way to higher grades, as one would expect with the students becoming more mature. This has allowed me to have more respect for the teachers and the class, and has therefore allowed me to have greater success in their classes.
Q: Does it matter that students and teachers have things in common?
A: Not necessarily. While commonalities make it easier for students and teachers to level, it is not needed in order to make students and teachers relate. In suburban Bellevue, at my school, I don't believe that race or sexual orientation plays a huge role in how people are treated in our classes. Yes, there are issues with some people in some places, and no I wouldn't honestly know about how this feels or really know what happens because I am a white, straight male. However, based on what I've seen my with friends of color, or those of varying sexual orientations, they are treated equally by teachers and others at our school. From what I've seen everyone is treated fairly equally and the only thing that would initiate being treated differently was any attitude or work incompatibility that might cause issues between students and teachers. But these can just as easily be seen with any white straight student as with any student that is part of any minority group.
Photo (c) 2017 Kristin Leong
Humanizing the gaps separating teachers and students.