It is a well known fact in some circles of education that students who have a positive, meaningful relationship with a teacher are more likely to be successful. It is even more important for those relationships to happen if those students come from homes where there are not great family dynamics, or if they stuggle in school.
Teachers who provide students with positive relationship should not be the exception to the rule. Teachers should not be told that they have to be strict disciplinarians in order to gain the respect of their students. Have you ever walked into a classroom and wonder why that teacher doesn’t have to send that kid to the office all the time? What are they doing differently?
The relationship they built with that student could be what they are doing differently. Again, I am going to use my “misfits.” This group of kids was the group that spent more time in the office than the usually did in class. Sometimes for silly things, sometimes not such silly things. However, they had earned a not so hot reputation, and were on the fast track to not graduating high school if they didn’t do something different. Many of them were in my drama, speech, and journalism programs. Some of them just migrated into my room because it was a safe place. Some of them were just in my English class.
These kids taught me just how important that empathetic relationship with a student is. They needed an adult to see them for them, and love them anyway. I called them on their bullshit and we established a pattern of respect. They knew that I wasn’t going to let them quit on themselves or me. They also knew I loved them. Some of them went through the alternative program to graduate, and some graduated from the traditional program. The point is they graduated. Now they are productive members of society.
The point is, by forming those relationships with kids I didn’t have to discipline. Instead, I got to teach more. I got to watch them learn and find success. That is worth everything to me.