The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

How to actually get an A

What effect teachers have on students

When contemplating success in school, students often consider a variety of strategies, study methods, time management, before and after school extra work time, work ethic, etc. Yet, the pivotal role of teacher-student relationships in fostering academic achievement frequently remains underdiscussed. However, a method seldom discussed is the impact of teacher-student relationships. The effects that teachers have on students are comparable to nothing else, but yet, it is not discussed when surrounding the conversation on how to become academically successful.

Teachers have an effect on how kids come into school. Knowing that you get to see your favorite teacher right away in the morning can have a positive effect on your mentality for the day. In contrast, seeing a teacher with whom you have not established a connection or dislike, can also change the way you come into school, even going as far as to discourage the student from attending class at all. No matter the studying, time management, work ethic, nothing can top a good relationship with a teacher.

A common problem that Minnesota schools face is truancy (the purposeful skipping of classes by students). In Minnesota truancy is getting worse, as of 2022 it was at 37%, an all time high. Whilst other factors influence these statistics, teacher-student relationships cannot be ignored as a major factor. We are losing students because of our relationships, or lack thereof.

The effect that teacher-student relationships have on a kids’ learning is also detrimental. Without a good connection, learning effectively from a teacher becomes difficult, if not impossible for the student. Without feeling as if they care about you, your learning, and your success, you end up not caring about yourself. After leaving that space after 45 minutes, you go on with your day discouraged as to what you could truly accomplish, which tends to have a domino effect on other aspects of your life.

The way the education system has been designed has been to focus strictly on a banking system: the teacher deposits information to you, you internalize it, do good on a test, and forget it. This system discounts how that teacher enters the space and how they interact with their students. One such example is personalized learning. The importance of teachers recognizing and adapting to individual students’ learning styles, can both speed up and enhance a students learning process. Unfortunately, many teachers try to jam students through a system that leads to academic failure and emotional detachment from the class and system.

Another example of how teacher-student relationships can have an impact on a student is through mentoring and support. Teachers often play the role of mentors and supportive figures for students, most kids tend to have a teacher, or figure within the school system, that they connect well with. It is this mentor that can encourage the student to take advanced classes, push themselves academically and assist them through life’s challenges. But unfortunately, a number of students not only do not have this relationship, they often have its negative counterpart. There are teachers who show no initiative to get to know the student, actively avoid encouraging them and in some instances tell them to give up entirely and pursue alternatives.

The way teachers enter a classroom and affect its atmosphere has the biggest impact on students, second only to mentorship. The environment a teacher creates in their classroom — whether it’s one of mutual respect, curiosity and engagement or one that’s more authoritarian — can greatly influence students’ attitudes towards learning and their willingness to participate. This change in teaching style can influence the rest of a kid’s life.

Park makes attempts to resolve such issues, every teacher has a cultural literacy coach to teach them how to operate with such a diverse student body. NTA (non-traditional academy), in which a class four periods long operates with multiple teachers co-teaching multiple topics, building community and doing active learning based projects, is offered at Park. Teachers on hall duty instead of traditional resource staff also allows students to see their teachers in a different light. Anecdotal stories told by students of teachers that have changed their lives, or made education enjoyable are all positive. All of these things are efforts to establish a connection between teachers and students, because there is value shown in it. As someone who has personally had negative experiences with teachers that have had such an effect that it hurt my GPA, I hope that it becomes more acknowledged that teacher-student relationships are important to the success of students. And hopefully the system that refuses to adapt and accept that reality changes soon. So that we don’t lose kids, simply because of relationships.

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About the Contributor
Jaiden Leary
Jaiden Leary, Echo Staffer
Hi my name's Jaiden Leary, I'm a junior and I like writing stories about politics and what's going on in the world. My current hobbies are reading and walking my dog. 

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