Benign Bonds

Student-teacher relationships benefit schools if both parties stay professional, appropriate

Prowler Staff Editorial

Through emails, Remind and tutorials, students can contact teachers for both academic and personal reasons. Teachers and their relationships with students can be incredibly essential to a student and their education, not only because it can have a positive effect on their achievements, but because it can also improve social development. Recently, the amount of illegal student-teacher relationships has risen, but regardless, students and teachers should be allowed to participate in relationships and allow them to flourish, as long as they stay appropriate because both parties can benefit from a healthy relationship.

The trust and reliability that a student puts in a teacher is vital to the way they perceive the world. Children and teens discern the school environment as dreadful and horrific. If one teacher can change that perception, students will feel more comfortable and have a better attitude to learn. The American Psychological Association states that improving students’ relationships with teachers has important, positive and long-lasting implications for both students’ academic and social development. For example, a middle school girl who experiences bullying may approach her social studies teacher to discuss it because she trusts that the teacher will listen and help without making her feel socially inept. Solely improving students’ relationships with their teachers will not produce gains in achievement. However, those students who have positive and supportive relationships with their teachers will achieve higher levels of achievement than those students with more conflict in their relationships with teachers.

In contrast, the association also explains what a negative relationship looks like and why that hurts students. Teachers might display their negativity with sarcastic remarks or make a student feel as if they’re the only one struggling with specific material. These types of relationships can dissipate a student’s particular desire to learn or engage in learning at all. Also, it may make the student more resistant to the teacher themselves, causing bad behavior and anger.

It can be argued that seemingly innocent teacher relationships can quickly morph into something inappropriate. Parents drop their children off at school hoping they will be protected by teachers but safety concerns are being raised after several cases of inappropriate student teacher relationships in Texas. There have been a few cases where teachers have formed sexual relationships to a particular student, such as a coach at Hutto High School with a female student. Another teacher who taught at Vista Ridge High School was accused of an inappropriate relationship as well. The teacher’s wife was the one who notified the police of her suspicions. LISD searched the teacher’s computer and discovered nude photos of the student. These two cases are some of the only few negative consequences that come as a result of relationships becoming too comfortable, so positive relationships between student and superior can’t only be bad. A good relationship makes a student feel more confident academically and as if they always have a person to talk to, whether it’s telling a teacher that they got a part in a play or because they’re struggling with material and feel comfortable telling the teacher rather than feeling inferior than his peers and avoiding the coursework.

Overall, there are benefits that can be sought from both student and teacher that should be recognized instead of pushed away just because they aren’t a newsworthy scandal.

Although these negative relationships tend to overshadow the positive ones, positive relationships are still there and strong. It is incredibly important that these positive relationships are still maintained because of their impacts on student’s lives and academic careers. Not only does this contribute to a positive classroom environment, but it also improves the quality of school life for both teachers and students, and possibly, the future of the student.