Student-Teacher Relationship

Compassion is a natural tendency that humans requisite. It establishes a strong bond between two individuals. As we are likely to get inclined towards love and care, students are no exception. They desire to have an understanding relationship with their teachers, but a gap is created when their teachers fail to establish a strong, compassionate and understanding-based relationship with their students. Teachers impart knowledge to their students but lack to create an environment where students can learn without fear. I am remembering the poem by Rabindranath Tagore, “When the mind is without fear……Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.” Whether it is about citizens of a country or students of a school, it is essential that the mind is without fear. If the mind is with fear, it blocks the learning and understanding capacity of students. As a result, the performance of students decelerates. In order to boost up their learning capacity and performance, the mind needs to be without fear.

Students spend substantial time with their teachers in school and acquire knowledge, but unfortunately, majority of students struggle to deal with fear within them. Teachers shape their students as porters shape their clays. Porter can make the finest pot if it is made with proper love and care. Every finest product in the world is an outcome of emancipated compassion. Similarly, teachers’ approach towards developing empathy for their students can have a positive impact on the lives of students. Teachers’ one step taken towards creating a comfortable environment for students to share their problems and views can result in the utmost development of students’ mental capacity and improvement in their overall performance. Often teachers use their anger as a tool to control their students and maintain discipline in the classroom. Empathy can rather be used as a tool in establishing discipline and supporting in the constructive development of students. Encouraging students to ask questions and creating an environment for them to share their problems without any fear of being judged, can liberate students’ thought and support the creative and cooperative teaching-learning process at teachers-students level. Teachers’ concerned effort towards creating absence of fear in their students’ mind can help to bridge   wide empathy gap between students and teachers.

Empathy plays a vital role in establishing strong association between two individuals as it creates space to feel the pain and suffering of others. It is understood as putting oneself in the shoes of others to feel their pain and suffering. Students are often afraid of teachers as they are punished time to time and as a result, student construct biases and prejudices against teachers, which later create the empathy gap between them. If we can bridge the empathy gap between teachers and students, it will not only strengthen their relation but also enhance the teaching-learning process effectively. Increasing students’ participation in the classroom and providing them a platform to share their ideas, thoughts and problems without any hesitation and fear, would enhance in bridging empathy gap between teachers and students.

Fear is an unsettling emotion that is constructed by society within a human being. In an attempt to boost up a child’s future, parents, society and teachers have been unintentionally weakening their actual learning capacity by creating an atmosphere of fear to maintain discipline. Such trend of dealing with students has unfortunately forced many students to go through psychological trauma, frustration, depression, and ultimately commit suicide. World Health Day 2017 strongly led a campaign on mental health care. In order to give sustainability to it, it is essential that an atmosphere is created at psychological level where students can trust their teachers and feel comfortable to share problems with them. A healthy and comfortable relationship between students and teachers can only be established if teachers avoid scolding and punishing students repeatedly, and instead they compassionately deal with their students.

‘Teachers should be friendly with students but not friends’ is a well-known perspective but are all teachers really friendly with students?  If teachers become friendly with students, it will automatically reduce fear, trust deficit and hesitation in students, thereby bridging empathy gap between teachers and students. Once teachers start dealing with students in a friendly and compassionate manner, it will create a comfortable atmosphere where both students and teachers can share their ideas and stories. Identifying students’ problems, weakness and strengths at the personal level can help teachers to develop a good understanding with their students. Ultimately, a strong empathy between students and teachers would provide direction to students’ future and achieve satisfaction in teachers’ life. Hence, the negative outcomes of empathy gap between students and teachers would diminish if the compassionate relationship between them sustain.

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