Improving Teacher-Student Relationships

Middle school teaching is an extremely important job, and can be more difficult than teaching positions with different age groups. Middle school teachers should be specially trained in adolescent development in addition to subject areas. This article explains how to improve teacher-student relationships, and what students look for in teachers.

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Teacher-student interactions have a huge impact on the success of a student, and negative relationships can be extremely detrimental. Students who stay in school and succeed usually have one or two mentors, or 'good teachers,' who have helped them make it through. Good teachers can be one of the most positive parts of a school experience. Although it may seem that adolescents pull away from adults, or think that adults aren't 'cool,' they still have a need to bond with them.

According to Erik Digests, Bhaerman and Kopp found that students will be less likely to leave school if they can work with teachers who are flexible, positive, creative, and people-centered rather than rule-oriented. This means that effective teachers should maintain high expectations, while being supportive and understanding.

Since many middle grade teachers are not adequately trained to work with early adolescence they can miss important cues from that their students, or not provide the proper support. It is extremely important for middle school teachers to be specially trained in adolescent development in addition to subject areas.

As teachers counsel and mentor their students through their middle school years, they should strive to provide a climate that supports and nurtures at-risk students, and helps them make it through those difficult years in middle school.

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