chapter  3
15 Pages

Aspects of the teacher’s relationship to the student

Once we realise the crucial role the teacher plays in the mental and emotional life of students, it becomes essential to examine the attitudes and expectations he brings to the relationship. The teacher will be aware of some of these and not at all aware of others, yet they will all deeply colour the way he views (a) the nature of his role, (b) the way he perceives, interprets and responds to the students’ behaviour, and (c) the way he expects to be regarded by them. His convictions will be based on his life experiences and what he has learnt from them. They will have developed on the basis of what he felt towards those responsible for his education (not only his teachers but members of his family and other mentors), the way he perceived their adult behaviour and how they set about the fulfilment of their task as educators. It will be of the utmost importance whether the teacher’s attitudes are based primarily on an identification with the good qualities of parents and teachers and an appreciation of a child’s difficulties and struggles; or alternatively, on the more unhelpful qualities of his parents and teachers and/or his own unsatisfied child-like desires. Let us consider the following statements made by student teachers in discussing their choice of career:

‘I enjoyed school and liked my literature teacher in particular. He was enthusiastic about English, encouraged me to go on when I felt hopeless about my progress, but was strict when I was shirking work. I found him a great help and would like to become like him.’