Adults are in positions of authority, and this creates greater influence on children than it does on other adults. We have to look for balance between what to cultivate and what to limit in teacher-student relations.
There are boundaries, yet we want to be inviting to students and make sure they know they are good company.
Let’s see how another educator responds to the question of whether teachers and students can—or should—be friends.
Rick Wormeli’s reflections on teaching and learning—shared though his books, articles, and workshops—have influenced many educators throughout the world, including me.
This is not an either/or perspective, and clearly must be more nuanced in an environment like a classroom.
Nevertheless, keeping it in mind has helped me maintain more of a personal/professional “equilibrium” and helped my students learn important life lessons.
But I don’t feel like continuing to go the extra mile for someone who doesn’t show me respect.
I want to emphasize that I will be a helpful and supportive teacher to you, but I’m just not going to continue to go the extra mile.” He began to react negatively, but I quickly ended the conversation and we returned to class.
I feel like I’ve bent over backward to support you and help you succeed.
(I then gave examples.) I don’t need thanks, but I expect respect.
I was a community organizer for 19 years prior to becoming a teacher 10 years ago.
One of the many organizing lessons I learned during that time and that I’ve tried to apply to teaching is the difference between public and private relationships.
Afterwards, however, the student returned to being respectful and hardworking, and I returned to “going the extra mile.” He ended up having a very successful year.