(This is Part One in a two-part series about the expectations of learning relationships. Please check out Part Two: "5 Things Learners Expect From Their Educators.")
As the summer is winding down, we’ve begun mapping out the first few weeks of classes in September and also sketching out our goals for the new school year. This planning has inspired us to reflect on our personal aspirations as professionals and life-long learners. It occurs to us to ask if there’s a difference between a “student” and a “learner,” between a “teacher” and an “educator.”
Teachers want their students to be responsible and curious. They expect their students to follow class rules and do their homework. But what about the reverse? What do students want from their teachers?
If we gave students a choice about which classes to attend each day, would they choose our subject? Would they view our pedagogical approach as worthwhile and interesting? A teacher’s job is not to be an entertainer, obviously. Gail Godwin’s quote, that “Teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater,” holds true only on a certain level. But the role of the teacher is undoubtedly to engage each child and inspire interest.
The partnership between student and teacher relies on expectations. When these needs are met, they create decades of learning and admiration. When unmet, however, they foment years of delay and resentment.
What do students expect from their teachers?