Monday, July 18, 2011

Student-Teacher Relationships

First off, I want to say that I am no longer using this blog for student politics issues. I have spent months debating whether I want to keep up the blog at all or not. I have decided that I will use it more as a journaling tool. So you will see some pretty random stuff that comes to my head, mostly focusing on how our society functions, personal growth, and spirituality/philosophy. Sometimes the posts will be fairly short, just getting a thought written down; and sometimes they will be more rambling essay type posts. If any of this intrigues you, great! If you are sad that I will no longer be writing about student politics, then you need to step back from student politics a bit, it is a black hole that will suck the life out of you.

So, student-teacher relationships. I was thinking today about how students and teachers interact and how society views student-teacher interactions. I feel like our society views student-teacher relationships as power relationships; the teacher has more power than the student therefore it is the student's job to learn from the teacher. It's definitely more subtle than this, but this is the gist of how our society views the relationship. I feel this creates a dynamic in our society where people are unwilling to learn from people around them since ackowledging that they have something to learn from someone else would create the feeling that the someone else is more powerful than them in a certain sense. This has the unfortunate effect of much valuable knowledge not being transferred throughout society that really needs to be shared.

Now I obviously have a different view of student-teacher relationships, otherwise there'd be no point in writing this. I view a formal student teacher-relationship as one where the teacher has previous experience in what the student is seeking to learn in a specific time and place and can act as a guide for the student. However, this is only the formal relationship. The ideal student-teacher relationship is one where both parties come out of the relationship having gained from the experience. The student learns whatever it is the teacher if offering, but the teacher can learn from the student how to become a better teacher. Also, either the student or teacher can learn things from each other that are comletely unexpected and unrelated to the original teaching. For example, I was in a class where the teacher was dealing with a problematic student and the way the teacher dealt with the student was in a very kind and compassionate way. I'm not sure whether the teacher already knew how to deal with the situation the he was faced with, but that student might have not only helped the teacher to learn how to react in the situation, the teacher also taught me how to react in dificult situations like the one I witnessed with grace and compassion. It was a totally unexpected lesson, but one that was far more valuable in my mind than the actual content of the class.

One thing we need to remember is that we are all students and we are all teachers. Always. We need to keep an open mind to any teaching that anyone around us has to offer, and at the same time we need to be conscious that other people are always observing us and learning from us, either in a positive way or a negative way. Because for every person that can teach us how to live our lives, there is someone that can teach us how not to live our lives.

1 comment:

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