Today, I guess, the whole world is a bit confused but I am more confused on the adage that ‘teacher is a friend’. Is it that I am confusing ‘friend’ with ‘friendly’ or is it that the whole world is less confused on the fact that professional ethics of teachers are diminishing?!
I remember a time when I was a student we used to strive hard to get into the good books of the teachers by putting in a bit of extra effort to fare good in studies, being obedient etc…, but now, is it the reverse that is happening?!.... Are the present teachers striving hard to get into the good books of the students by stooping down to any level? I am seriously confused!!?
I guess (just my opinion. Anyone can refute it) we can grow closer to students but in every interaction, we must remain teacher and student, mentor and mentee, not a friend especially the buddy type, and this is wise.
We have to look for balance between what to cultivate and what to limit in teacher-student relations. There are and should be boundaries, for the benefit of teacher and the taught.
Teachers should not vent about office politics and personal affairs to students. They are topics that are inappropriate for teachers to share with students, and such sharing can undermine learning relationships in the classroom, even when the teacher is already very familiar with the student and his family. A teacher disclosing personal information with a student can be helpful when it is to help that student understand something, but never when it is for the purpose of adults filling their own needs, such as when seeking friendship or approval.
Another façade among teachers is that they go any extent in an effort to ingratiate themselves with students. However, many a times this has the opposite effect. From my 20 years of experience in the field of education at the receiving end (hi!!!!) and 12 years at the giving end, I realized that students prefer teachers to be adults, not overgrown versions of themselves. Students gravitate toward teachers who inspire them to become something more than they are today, not extensions of their current condition.
Sure, many teachers clown around from time to time, but the better teachers remain clearly adults, facilitating learning, offering insight, and representing larger society. We don’t have to go down to the students as is conceived by few ‘confused teachers’, I think we should always stay a bit above the students both intellectually and emotionally ( that is why we have a two feet high platform in class hi!!) so that the students would reach better heights in an effort to reach you.
We as teachers should recognize clear boundaries rightfully established in successful teaching-learning relationships. We can be friendly not a friend to our dear students who need to be brought up rather than let down.