Find the balance between rapport and respect in the classroom



FOR MY “FAVORITE” TEACHER… While bonding with teachers is important for building a strong school community, students must be wary of crossing the line between being comfortable with teachers and being unintentionally disrespectful. Students must show their appreciation for their teachers through their actions, not only their words.

Beginning in the kickoff assembly in the first week of school, a central goal of the year has been fostering school-wide connection and a sense of belonging for students. Beyond starting new friendships with classmates and peers, who better to turn to for a positive school experience than teachers? But in a relationship with a goal of learning, it is important to find the balance between feeling comfortable with teachers and respecting their role as educators.

While disrespect at school is commonly associated with talking back to teachers or badmouthing faculty behind their backs, it also comes in more subtle forms when students justify certain actions with a close bond with their teacher.

According to the American Psychological Association, healthy teacher-student relationships and rapport significantly impact social and academic development and achievement. When teachers show they care about their students as people and learners, students are more likely to engage in their classes and seek guidance outside of class that can help put them in a position to succeed.

Positive relationships with teachers can also improve a student’s ability to respond to constructive criticism regarding behavior in class or interactions with peers.

Unfortunately, these benefits of teacher-student relationships can be overshadowed by conduct in the classroom. Teachers that students feel close with gain the reputation of being a “chill teacher,” and while this creates a fun classroom environment, it often coincides with unintentional disrespect.

Teachers that students feel close with gain the reputation of being a ‘chill teacher,’ and while this creates a fun classroom environment, it often coincides with unintentional disrespect. ”

This is not unique to SPA, but that doesn’t diminish why it’s a problem. Taking advantage of positive relationships with teachers as an excuse to be off task in class, distract others, or avoid classwork and assignments gets in the way of why we’re in class to begin with: to learn. It’s natural to socialize with teachers and peers during class time, and this can even help build a more healthy and positive learning environment.

Deliberately derailing the agenda on a consistent basis is insensitive to teachers. Faculty members dedicate significant portions of time in and outside of school to plan engaging and informative activities and lesson plans for their students. Denying them the space and opportunity to carry out these activities is a disservice to everyone; it is disrespectful to the teacher and harms the learning experience.

Feel lucky to have a staff of teachers who strive to support their students and care about their development as both learners and people. Appreciate the efforts faculty make to help when personal issues arise or course loads become overwhelming.

But also make sure not to exploit the willingness of teachers by requesting unnecessary extensions and taking advantage of their compassion.

Forming a close relationship with a teacher is something that can be extremely influential to navigating high school (and the many triumphs and challenges that come with it) but this should not come at the expense of respect.

This poll has ended.

Teachers know me as a student and care about me as a person.


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