Sunday, December 23, 2007

Teacher and Student Relationship

There is a unique ‘thing’ between the teacher, educator, tutor, governess, lecturer, guru, mentor- whatever their name is, with their student, pupil, learner, apprentice- whoever we call ourselves. There’s a saying that sounds like this: Do not judge a book by its cover. But still, we can’t resist the fact that we all do that, don’t we?

When it comes to teachers, some of them can’t escape the fact that they are being judged by their students. Some students will grow a love/hate or a friendship/enemy relationship with their teachers. At first encounter it seems easy to judge teachers, but eventually you always learn something.

This is a story from someone whom I know, about her relationship with her teacher, which I think, is worth to display here.

My math teacher has transferred to another school. She is always loving but at the same time disciplining, smart and one word best describe her is extraordinary.

My greatest regret was that I got a C for Additional Mathematics in the final exam. It was one shocking result for me. I couldn’t give that to her. Even I didn’t like that fact, but a C was one last impression 
about me that I left her. On her last day, she even asked what happened to me. I was feeling so down that I couldn't answer  such a simple question.

Anyhow, a new year begins. A new math teacher, replacing her is reporting to our school real soon. Rumor spreads out that it is going to be a male teacher. A young one. Freshly graduated from a top university. All my girl classmates are looking forward to meet him. Yeah, right. I still think that it will never be the same. I miss my previous teacher.

The day finally comes. He enters our class, introduces himself, and starts teaching. As usual, I judge people. His voice is shaky. His explanations don't make any sense. He refers to the textbook a lot. This guy is either lack of confidence, or lack of preparation. And I’m practically not interested. So, I surrender to my tiredness. I sleep in his math class!

This is going on and on. I’m not sure when will I stop. If I do not sleep, I’ll do my own work. Things become even worse when I feel that his teaching is consuming too much time. I prefer that we spend more time on exercises rather than listening to his babbling about math in our daily life. The truth is, I grow my extreme dislike of this new teacher because I felt being underestimated by him. Why? The answer is simple. He did not recommend my name to a try out for Mathematics Olympiad. I still can’t believe it. I entered the Olympiad last year, and he didn't give me a chance just because of one lousy C compared to many other A’s I've got before.

One other thing is I felt quite embarrassed due to one incident. I was asleep while he is teaching in front. I wasn’t so deep in sleep. I still hear everyone around me. Suddenly, I feel like there’s someone at my side. There he is. My new math teacher is looking patiently at me. He is holding a piece of paper, and he asks me to answer one question about something that he has just taught when I was not paying attention to him. Even though I managed to answer his question (thank God), but still I got every eye in the classroom looking at me in disgust.

My ego should be praised in this case. I work harder than ever, I did a lot of math exercises and I never got anything but an A in every single test and exam. My new teacher is no longer complaining about me not paying attention in class. I knew this because once, he summoned my best friend to the Math Department. He asks her whether she got any problem with him. My friend is angry, instead of answering; she asks him why didn't he summon me too. The answer is simple and pleasant to me. He didn’t summon me because my performance in every test and exam is satisfying.

Trough my best friend, I finally understand the fact that this new teacher should not be blamed of. He made us copy notes (we never take notes in math class before) because the head of department insisted on it. He is teaching the way he is right now because he can’t leave the slow-learners to learn math on their own.

Only after that day did I realized that this new teacher is trying really hard to make us learn something. It is not just about getting best grades (although this is the school’s main priority), but it is also about relating math to our daily life and to applying it in problem solving. And that day, he finally gains my respect. I still do my own work while he’s teaching. But, we have discussed about it and he allows me as the fast-learner to move to another level. He’ll help me whenever I have difficulties. And I’m thankful that this new teacher did not report me to my parents or something.

However, I still didn’t tell him about me feeling quite sad being underestimated by him. Let’s just keep it as our secret, shall we? After all, I have proved that the C is just a stepping stone that push me to strive for my success.

From this story, we can conclude that nowadays the teachers, to some degree, need to demonstrate that they are worthy of the students' respect. Proving to us that they are not just another stereotypical teacher, trying to impress their students, but instead that they truly deserve the title of teacher.

Unlike stereotypical teacher, the teachers should be more creative in their teaching approach. I mean, if you’re teaching at 12 noon when the atmosphere is too hot, you can’t be using monotone voice. Students will fall asleep easily. Be more creative. Change your approach; don’t just explode your anger to students. It’s not entirely their fault.

In my friend’s case, the teacher solve his problem with students by communicating with them. It is clear that some student is hiding their own reasons. Teachers should just dig that problem out and together work out to find a solution that is acceptable by everyone.

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit. –Helen Keller


  1. Hey, great job on this essay!

  2. Thank you. I thought nobody ever read this blog anymore ^^,

  3. I am also agree with this Blogger. We want Male Teacher in Primary School.But may be Male are not Interested to do Job in Primary School.

  4. I did like this story. In fact, I used this in my 4th year English class. My students shared the same feeling towards Math subject and any other subject which they consider difficult. This opened their eyes to a lot of things. This is a good motivational piece for the students to read.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Thank you for reading. I appreciate you comments.

  6. This article turns out to be my most read entry, even after all these years, it still is. To those of you who searched for student and teacher relationship, and found out that this article isn't about romantic relationships... I'm sorry. I didn't know that the title could be interpreted differently xD