Caring Adults in Every School
I always hear about the value of relationships in education. When a teacher builds a strong relationship with her students, her students tend to have better achievement. I've also (often) been reminded that some students do not have the positive influence of a responsible adult in their home life (or their outside-of-school-life) and YOU may be that only such person in that student's life.
I think that teachers who take these point to heart are able to make a difference in the lives of their students. I also think that they help to create a learning environment in which students are comfortable and more able to do their best all of the time. And it makes sense...Wouldn't you rather have a teacher who cares about you as a person than having a teacher that barely knows your name?
I am a mathematics supervisor. So often I see students who have always struggled in math class and they begin each school year thinking that they won't do well. Some teachers view this attitude as "The students don't like me." when the real issue is "The students don't like math." (Actually, I think the real issue is, "The students don't like being in an environment where they are pretty sure that they are going to fail and/or not understand on a regular basis.) Teachers who are able to establish a good relationship with these students enable them to try and work hard and do their best everyday. They may not get the "A" every time, but they change their attitude toward the subject (and maybe their attitude toward their own abilities) and things improve.