My name is Corine. I am a junior, and I hope to study psychiatry after high school. Today, I want to talk about one aspect of safe and supportive schools which is the importance of students knowing that their teachers care about not only their learning, but their growth as a whole person.
I feel the most supported and learn best when I feel teachers care about my personal growth. For example, one teacher I feel cares is my math teacher. She goes the extra mile. On Fridays, she does something called “Financial Fridays,” where she teaches us skills, like how to fill out tax forms for job applications and how to use certain apps to invest in stocks. Right now, we have a competition in our class to see who can make the most money with a pretend $10,000 that we each invested. She also incorporates these skills into the curriculum. Like, when we were learning about growth and decay, she showed us how we could use that math to do our taxes and track interest. She then added a question on a test for bonus points asking us, “How would you use exponential growth and decay in the real world?” I can tell teachers like this care because when they incorporate outside skills into our class, they’re setting us up to be more responsible adults. I feel like they not only care about the subject matter, but they also care about us. I feel respected and welcomed in the environment, which helps me learn better.
At the other end, one teacher I feel does not care is one of my teachers who often projects her frustrations on the whole class. When certain students act up, she will say certain comments like, “Oh, I don’t have to be here,” “I don’t have to care,” and “I’ve already been through this.” My respect decreases for a teacher like this because she is taking her anger out on us. I’m thinking, why should we care when you’re basically implying that you don’t care. Instances like this ruin my mood. They cause me to turn off.
That is not to say that I want my teachers to be too casual with students. While I want my teachers to care, I also want them to be professional. I understand being casual with students. But at the same time, as a teacher I want you to be above us in maturity. For example, I once had a teacher who would get in students’ business by asking them personal questions about things like their dating life. When teachers do things like this, they lose credibility. They become unapproachable. I start thinking, maybe this teacher is saying stuff about students, which makes me feel uncomfortable.
I think adults at my school know what kinds of changes need to be made to help students succeed: like not just caring about students’ test scores but also their success as holistic people. But they can’t do it alone. They need help from the school system. They also need to hear from students, which is why student voices should also be part of the process. With more support, I think more teachers, like my math teacher, can help students learn by showing the students they care. Thank you.
“I think adults at my school know what kinds of changes need to be made to help students succeed: like not just caring about students’ test scores but also their success as holistic people. But they can’t do it alone. They need help from the school system.” —Corine
“One aspect of safe and supportive schools…is the importance of students knowing that their teachers care about not only their learning, but their growth as a whole person.” —Corine