Editorial: Should Your Teacher “Friend” You?

At GFS, many positive teacher-student relationships are generated.  GFS honors the Quaker principle that there is that of God in everyone and thus, we are all equal and there should be no titles like Mr. and Mrs.  Middle School teachers make themselves available to their students for help. Students can easily meet with teachers during study halls, or even after school. The fact that teachers make themselves available as much as possible is a valuable thing, not to be underused. We know that many students have called, emailed, or even chatted online with teachers if they needed help. These relationships are definitely useful and can help bring the community together, but they may also have a downside.  For instance, could the development of close student-teacher relationships, lead to favoritism?  Favoritism could certainly be a real possibility in such an environment and cause certain problems in a community.

Such closeness has a potential downside and can cause problems. If one is sitting in a class with a teacher that might has a good relationship with you, it could be very awkward if they yell or get tough with you. You might feel that they are being mean, overly harsh or critical, but really, they are trying to help you. If one compares this to a friendship, than one might think of it as ‘Okay, this person is yelling, but I will (hopefully) still be their friend’. Another con is that such close relationships could be used to the students’ advantage. If a teacher is particularly close to a student, he or she might also give a little curve to their grade. We don’t know of any scenarios where this has actually happened, but the possibly definitely exists.

All and all, teacher-student relationships have more upsides than down. One positive aspect of the closeness is a certain level of comfort when interacting with each other.  This way, students can speak their minds and seek advice from teachers about issues outside of the classroom. Teachers may make themselves more available for questions when you have a strong relationship with them. For example, someone with a strong relationship with Rhonda may be more likely to receive a computer pass than someone who has a weaker relationship with Rhonda.

GFS generates strong teacher-student relationships, which have many pros and cons to them.  These relationships allow students to be more successful but sometimes can create tough or awkward situations.  In the overall picture, these relationships are a unique tribute to GFS.

~ The Corner Editorial Board 2010-11