Making a Grade how relationships between teachers and students really affect learning

In my lifetime, I have been through a total of five different education systems. Every single one being different in their own unique way, whether it be small or big, private or public, or even taught in a completely different language all the way across the world. So, in my fourteen years of living and learning, I’ve seen, heard, and experienced a lot of different things about the modern day education styles and even the modern day kid.

I’m the youngest of three in a family of brilliant and talented humans who I have always looked up to. I have always been taught to do great so that I can be great as a result, especially in school. I know that a test score doesn’t determine whether or not you are great, but judging by the way I have been taught in every single school system I’ve been through, it does feel like it sometimes. Every school you go to, there will be teachers who judge you or label your questions as stupid or immature. Teachers who pick favorites and make it obvious that they do so. And teachers who make sure their students know that their only rights in the classroom are to sit down, listen, and talk when called on. Walking through the halls of a high school of two thousand kids, you will see smiles, tears, fights, and joy. Through the eyes of a teacher, I’ll bet it’s easy to disregard that students have their own personal lives to tend to. I guess that's their thinking when they give no slack and have zero wiggle room for any mistake a teenager could ever make. Because teenagers should never make mistakes, right?

Passing period at George Ranch High School, Friday, April 17, 2015 in Houston- http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/school-report-card/article/Area-districts-juggle-accelerating-growth-6219442.php

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Rita F. Pierson, a teacher of forty years, said “A colleague said to me one time, ‘They don't pay me to like the kids. They pay me to teach a lesson. The kids should learn it. I should teach it, they should learn it, Case closed’” (Pierson). But, knowledge is not taken in when the person trying to give it to you is your enemy. Kids are smart enough to know not to listen to bullies, we’ve been taught that since we were toddlers. As Pierson says, although teachers aren’t necessarily paid to like their students, they are paid to get them through high school. Teachers are paid to make sure that they can watch their students walk across a stage in a gown and a cap. But, the thing is, if all the teacher cares about is what they are being paid for, what do you think they are going to get in return from their students? If teachers are only teaching because that’s what they are being paid for, why aren’t students only going to school because “Compulsory education laws require children to attend a public or state-accredited private school for a certain period of time” (“Compulsory Education”). So basically, what if we are only here because the law tells us to be, just like our teachers are only here for their monthly pay check? Do unto others as they do unto you, (that’s something we learn in school, as well).

In modern day educational systems, the classroom is run like a dictatorship, or at least in my eyes. You sit down, never fidget, don’t speak unless told to, write down everything your teacher says, and raise your hand if you want to go to the bathroom. After eighteen years of having to literally raise our hands to go to the bathroom, teachers expect us to know how to fend for ourselves in the “real world”? Maybe that might be a little bit of a stretch but I feel that it’s strong enough to defend my opinion on how we are treated. We may only have to ask to leave the room because we are, in fact, the teacher's responsibility. But even if we are their responsibility, I still believe that we should all be treated as equals. Does pointless protocol teach us anything about the real world? Why can’t we have a discussion or an argument or ask questions that sound stupid? Why can’t every teacher be like the teacher in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower"? The teacher who pushes kids to be great and the teacher you makes you feel like you can achieve excellence. Why can't anybody tell a student “you’re one of the most gifted people I’ve ever met” (Chbosky 181). Where has the belief and hope gone in schools? I understand that we are only here to learn and listen, but why can’t we be believed in, like Charlie from the book is believed in? Why does that part in the novel have to be fiction? Why do we only go to school to listen? Can’t we come for something more? As Rita F. Pierson states “Every child deserves a champion. An adult who will never give up on them. Who understands the power of connection. And insists that they become the best that they can possibly be” (Pierson). Why is finding role models, people who believe in you, so rare with our generation? Sometimes, all a kid my age wants is to find someone who has faith in them. We don’t want to be judged for our actions or our questions, we just want someone to give us feedback, and not just about our last biology lab. Sometimes, kids just want someone to look up to that won’t laugh at us when we are curious about things that may sound “stupid”.

Children, adolescents with a learning disability face school challenges and situations that can lead to an anxiety disorder- https://www.anxiety.org/children-with-anxiety-and-learning-disabilities-steps-to-school-social-success

The tie between mental health and education is a huge contributor to what kids get out of school, how they engage and how they learn. The way teachers and students interact can either help or hurt the mental and emotional state of a teenager. In a 2015 study, “an estimated 3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This number represented 12.5% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17” (“Major Depression”). The amount of stress we are put under on a daily basis is outrageous. Stress by our families, our teachers, our friends, never mind the fact that we are expected to live up to impossible standards, intelligence wise and, of course, physically. And with what feels like the weight of the world on our shoulders, we are to focus on how we feel and make sure that our mental health stays at its peak. But, kids who don't know how to deal with that kind of stress and kids who don't know how to radar their own mental health, don't know that burying emotions, like most kids my age would do, only makes you feel worse. As mental health issues progress, focusing and studying may not be your number one priority, or you may just forget that they are a priority at all. Studies show that in the US alone “only 40 percent of students with emotional, behavioral and mental health disorders graduate from high school” (“Problems”). Is it a possibility anymore to prove these statistics false in the next few years or has it gotten to the point where it’s hopeless? Why don't teachers incorporate in lessons how kids can cope, or how they can put their mental health and stability first and then do their school work? Yes, I do believe that some people have to do well and make a grade in school in order to succeed. But don't kids have to actually make it through school before they can succeed? How are kids supposed to even try to succeed if they are mentally unhealthy and don't know how to cope with so many situations going on in their life because they were never taught how? My point is, how well someone does in school does not necessarily determine whether or not they succeed in life. We need to put ourselves before our studies, or else we are literally going to go nowhere, not the other way around.

anxiety in college students- https://www.allianztuitioninsurance.com/library/college-adjustment/anxiety-in-college-students-what-parents-need-to-know

Depending on who you are, whether you are a teacher, a student, a parent or anyone else, your views on my opinions may differ from the next person. But I, a young, curious kid just trying to keep above a B in every class, have many things floating through my brain on a daily basis. I know that every person should be treated equally, and every person is guaranteed the right of the pursuit of happiness. So, teachers, what are you going to do? Are you going to sit back, relax, and continue to laugh at "stupid questions"? Or are you going to treat us like the future adults we are supposed to grow into? Are you going to make relationships with us and make us want to come to school? Are you going to be a role model? And are you going to be a part of our journey as students to succeed and to pursue our own happiness?

The dictionary gives the definition of pursuit as: the act of pursuing, chasing, or striving after. And happiness is defined as: The state of being joyful and content and fulfilled-https://theimageofchrist.com/tag/life/

work cited.

Pierson, Rita F. "Every kid Needs a Champion." Ted Talk, May 2013, www.ted.com/playlists/125/tv_special_ted_talks_educatio. Accessed 14 Dec. 2016.

"Compulsory Education Laws: Background." FindLaw, education.findlaw.com/education-options/compulsory-education-laws-background.html. Accessed 21Dec. 2016.

Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Pocket Books, 1999.

"Major Depression among Adolescents." NIMH, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adolescents.shtml. Accessed 22 Dec. 2016.

"Problems at School." ACMH, www.acmh-mi.org/get-help/navigating/problems-at-school/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2017.

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