Towards more effective Teacher-student relationships in all schools and colleges


Teacher-student relationships are key to effective teaching outcomes in any given school or college environment. There are so many Government school teachers who are role models for thousands, inspire of all odds. There is always scope for improvement. Based on feedback obtained from various teachers and students, as well as my own experiences, some aspects of better and more effective teacher-,student relationships are sought to be discussed in this article.

Introduction

Teachers in schools and colleges are the harbingers of hope, optimism and change of a very tall order. They are the role models for their students. They are the main secondary source of emotional and moral support for all students, irrespective of the resource position of the school or college. This is an obvious observation. For, apart from one's parents and siblings, the students always get to meet the students daily.

Be that as it may, the teachers in all schools and colleges should a) Be always student-centric in teaching b) Teach students life skills c) Regularly interact with parents d) Focus on the individuality of each student and e) Always be honest and transparent.

Be always student-centric in teaching

The most effective teachers are those who develop personal relationships with all students and their parents; do not hurt any student at any point in time for whatever reason; enable the forging of good relationships with all, including the non-reacting staff and influential members of the immediate local community. A teacher who can accomplish all this throughout say, seven to eight years, has always been found to enjoy the best of relationships with students at all time. They are selfless. They take it on themselves to literally change the lives of their students. There was this news that did the rounds recently. In some rural school in Tamil Nadu, a lady Government teacher spent her own money to buy new smartphones for all her students. Her gesture won her all-round praise and press coverage. Imagine the situation if other teachers, even with community support, can do this in so many locations. Online teaching is here to stay and the need for resources will always be there.

Another important aspect of the teaching process is to make every teaching session enjoyable and highly participative. For example, in a particular Government school in Madurai, a highly innovative method of teaching, that had good student involvement, was introduced by the English teacher. The method was unique and could even be followed by other teachers as well. The teacher would divide the entire class of 61 ninth standard students into eight batches. The students would be given eight envelopes and the students would have to assemble the pieces of phrases in each envelope to make a full paragraph. There would be fun; the students were allowed to go outside the class to the shade of the trees. They could come back prepared after their task was over. The ten minutes would also involve personal conversations and in many cases, certain teachers who were free for a particular period were also involved; this improved the student participation even better. The students would enjoy the experience. The teacher would spend time explaining each tough word in each paragraph first in Tamil and then the meaning of the word in English. In this manner, the teacher was able to ensure that the students were excited as well. Every student had to compulsorily talk for five minutes on any topic of his or her choice for five minutes in English and mistakes were corrected by the teacher on the spot. The teacher would never blame or criticize any student. Since the teaching process was hugely student-centric, the teacher became so famous and his methods of teaching were praised by all parents.

Imagine the teacher's motivation when he receives praise from the parents. The teacher would also profusely thank every other colleague of his, in public in every meeting with the parents. There was an amazing teamwork in the school. No other information is recorded here, on the teacher's request. References were often made to this specific teacher by so many others on my visits to Madurai city. Yet, on a single occasion when I happened to meet him in a social gathering, he was so humble. He just said that he had implemented ideas given by his brother's wife, a teacher of English at a college near Salem.

Such teachers are rare. However, the focus of teaching should always be student-centric. The attention span of every student, whether in school or college, is now coming down so drastically. It is hence important to move far away from the routine lecture method of teaching. Furthermore, every single student of the class and all students of whatever classes he handled, would be given a box of chocolates on their birthdays and five students would be invited to share all good things about the student for around three minutes each. During the examination time, the teacher would spend endless hours coaching the students to ensure that all pass their examinations in English.

Teach students life skills

This is important too. There have been reports of teachers who have enlisted the support of local philanthropists to buy computers in their schools and the students were taught all the computer basics. The students of the plus one and two standards have been taught basic electrical operations by the local experts and a few schools have even taught the students how to make plastic bags and so on. In another case, the teacher ensured that three poor students of the plus one standard underwent training in operations in a small unit making paper cups. Such initiatives are always welcome. The teachers who get all such training organized should be encouraged in a big way.

Regularly interact with parents

This is a routine exercise that should inevitably happen in every school or college. However, the teacher should ensure that no parent is hurt with any harsh word at anytime whatsoever. Yes. some students are misguided or are lazy and playful. However, every parent should be gently advised on areas of improvement and should not be snubbed. There is always so much to learn from successful experiences.

Focus on individuality of each student

This may sound deceptively simple. But it is not. The teacher who develops an individual rapport with each student will be able to find a spark in him or her. This spark can be painting, singing, dancing, creative writing or whatever. It is up to the teacher to develop such skills in as many students as possible. A few years ago, a student who was good in singing, emerged from a small village near Tiruvarur, a rich agricultural district near Tanjore in South Tamil Nadu. What was reported was the sincere and dedicated efforts of the school teachers to help this poor girl win the title in the Aitel Super singer contest, aired on a famous television channel. Such efforts are always needed to encourage students in whatever ways are possible.

Always be honest and transparent

Given the fact that the students count each teacher as a role model and learn so much from him or her, it becomes extremely important to be very by in honest in every little thing that the teacher does. This point was superbly depicted in two Tamil movies "Sattai" and "Aduththa Sattai", both movies directed by Samudrakani, a promising director of films with a social message.

Once the teacher is honest, being transparent will naturally follow. For one, the students will tend to consult the teacher for even solving personal problems. Secondly, the teacher will be able to win the support of the parents and influential members of the local community, if he or she is, and demonstrates a high level of honesty in his or her behaviour. This is a vital variable that can make a big difference in effective Teacher-student relationships.

Conclusion

A few steps, based on several real-world experiences and feedback in specific cases, have been discussed above, to enable far better Teacher-student relationships. The steps, as such, are not original. They are already being done in some specific pockets of India. What is more important is to multiply such efforts and take them to the next level in terms of effectiveness at all times and in all schools and colleges.


Comments

Author: Umesh18 Nov 2020 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 7

A nice article on teacher student relationship as what it is and what it should be. For a student the most important entity after ones parent is teacher only. A student looks up to the teacher with certain expectations and many times even tries to mimic the ways of the teacher. The teacher could even be a role model for him. Now when the student has so many expectations and respect for the teacher then it is the moral duty of the teacher to guide and provide him a path of illumination where the students gets information regarding making a career or learning something in newer ways with the help of the teacher. So the teacher's role is slightly difficult at this juncture because he has to take care of the students at one to one level. Being alone it is definitely a tough task. Sometimes the student will have too much expectations which no teacher can meet but the fact is that a good teacher will try to understand the problems of the student at academic or even psychological levels to sort out the issues that intermingle with education in this growing up age. A good teacher has a capability to do so and then only the responsibility of being a teacher is fully realised.



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