Equality, encouragement, and positive relationships in the classroom

This week I had the opportunity to tutor a student. While tutoring my student, I heard another student talking about an issue she is experiencing in one of her classes. She has a teacher that is so hard on her. She said “that it’s like (the teacher) expects more from me, but doesn’t care what anybody else does.” She also said one day she was having a bad day and she didn’t do good on an assignment. After class, her teacher came to her and said “I really expected more from you.” The girl said it made her feel even worse because she knew she could have done better, but she was having other struggles that her teacher didn’t know about. Sometimes as teachers we make judgments based on the grades our students get instead of taking the time to get to know our students and learn more about them as individuals. This teacher was not treating all of the students equally. As teachers we must have the mindset that all our students can succeed and have the ability to succeed. This teacher also did not take the time to ask her why she did poorly. The teacher could have pulled her aside and asked her what was going on or if she needed to talk. Instead the teacher just criticized for doing poorly instead of trying to find out the reasons why. The teachers criticism only made the situation worse and made the student feel that she wasn’t good enough. As teachers we need to be encouraging, but also understanding. Our students sometimes are going through struggles that we might not know about. It is important to build the types of relationships that will allow for students to feel comfortable coming and talking to you about different struggles they may be facing.

3 thoughts on “Equality, encouragement, and positive relationships in the classroom”

  1. I agree that it would be made a difference for the teacher you mentioned to discuss what may have caused the low grade rather than express disappointment. It is essential that teachers make an effort to develop relationships with their students. Although we are so short on time in the classroom, just a few minutes each day will make a huge difference to your students. This is something that I think many teachers focus on at the beginning of the year and as the year goes on, it becomes less of a priority. The following article provides some great ways to build these important relationships with our students.



  2. Reblogged this on Teaching with Social Justice in Mind and commented:

    Afternoon, I enjoyed your stance on this subject, and unfortunately its sad that this young girl had to experience this within a classroom. There is a fine line between pushing a student to their fullest potential, and marginalizing them so that they feel defeated or demoralized. In this case, the child had ad adverse reaction to the teacher, and the teacher in this particular case has done more damage then good.
    The classroom is suppose to be a place of safety, comfort; and a place in which the students can work hard, but also to not be afraid to fail. Telling the student “I really expected more from you”, when she was already aware that she was having a bad day is tragic, because you are now as a teacher discouraging this student, and it now becomes a terrible classroom environment. The teacher needs to know their students both in the classroom, but also outside. If you notice that one of your students is having a bad day, that’s an opportunity that we have as educators to understand that student and offer assistance that may go beyond the walls of the school. The best teachers are the ones that create that positive, encouraging, and engaging environment within their classes. This allows the student to learn, but to also grow as an individual.


  3. Thank you for sharing that experience you had with the girl and her relationship (or lack thereof) with her teacher. I have experienced this same thing, as a student, and wished that I had previously taken the time to talk with my teacher about what was going on in my personal life that was causing me to perform worse that I typically would in her class. It can be difficult for teachers to intentionally create these close relationships with all of their students, but it is completely necessary if the teacher wants the student to feel comfortable enough to come to the teacher and address issues like these.


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