Students build relationships with teachers

By Andjela Bursac

Sometimes finding common interests with people least expected can be fun and interesting, especially when those people are teachers.

Students and teachers find it important to build trust and friendly relationships. They can relate to each other through school work, but more importantly, through common interests.

Dr. Bates, AP United States History (APUSH) teacher, has recently started a new “tell me something I don’t know” segment in his class, in an effort to help students feel comfortable sharing. He spends a few minutes at the beginning of every class asking students about anything they would like to share.

“It gets students talking in the beginning of class, so when it comes down to actual history, they feel more comfortable sharing information and what they think without worrying if they are right or wrong,” Bates said.

Once comfortable, students tend to share personal stories in class.

“A bunch of people are from large families. I’m surprised by the number of families,” Bates said. “One student said she is one of quadruplets, three twin brothers and her, or students who are one of seven or eight children. Those kinds of things stood out.”

Teachers and students can also chit chat about common and friendly things like their hobbies, and current trendy shows.

“I’m finding out that more and more people are in band. I was definitely a band geek in high school,” Bates said. “Also I feel like a lot of people are fans of the Walking Dead, so we get to talk about that.”

Ms. Jennings, who teaches English and Yearbook I and II shares some of her interests with her students.

“I have talked to several different kids about music,” Jennings said. “I’m really into music, and it freaks kids out to know that I go to Lollapalooza every summer.”

Claudia McPherson-Isbell, Div. 764, has a passion for art, that she shares with her art teacher, Ms. Faletto.

“I go to her for art related advice,” McPherson-Isbell said. “[Ms. Faletto] showed me her personal portfolio, it’s amazing. She’s helping me work on mine.”

Some students who do not openly share their personal problems still have teachers they can go to when it comes to outside topics. Carlos Casas, Div. 562, likes to talk about sports with his teachers.

“Mr. Carrity teaches economics, and we talk about soccer. He likes Munich and I like Real Madrid,” Casas said.

Casas enjoyed Carrity’s class not only because of the subject, but because he knew he could tie in his personal interests during free time. He is a big soccer fan, and loved talking about game scores with Carrity, something he could not do in every class.

Other students share fun stories about pets and their personal lives to teachers they can trust. Rachel Carey, Div. 565, loves to share about her pet.

“I tell all my teachers about my cat. I showed Mr. Polley a picture of my cat dressed in a dress. He laughed and showed the whole class, and I know he has a cat,” Carey said.

Many students have favorite teachers or classes, especially when they know that their teachers are real people they can relate to, and learn from. Lane has staff members who are not only interested in sharing their knowledge, but also care about students, in class and personally. Alejandra Burgos, Div. 563, has a favorite teacher who she knows she can count on.

“Yeah I have a favorite kind of teacher, one who cares about you, not just about teaching but also like being there for you if you’re going through a hard time and understanding,” Burgos said. “Mr. Fine is an amazing teacher; he had a lot of patience, and took the time to understand people, to understand students.”

It is not just little snippets students share with their teachers. Some students feel comfortable enough to seek advice and real help with personal problems from their teachers. Mr. Fine, an English I and AP Language teacher is passionate about teaching, and working with young people. He experienced bullying in his teens and decided to establish a hate-free zone where he can build good relationships with his students so they feel comfortable at school.

“I try really hard to get to know my students on an individual basis. I always make myself available if students need to talk or anything. Sharing my own personal experiences along with the literature helps them open up,” Fine said. “If they need me to be someone they come and talk to in the morning, then I love that kind of student. If they need to communicate over email, then I love that kind of student. If they need to talk in class all the time or just sometimes, students who like to joke around, I can joke around, if they need to have a serious conversation, then I can have a serious deep conversation.”

It is nice to build relationships based on common interests, and sometimes the most entertaining people to talk to are right in front of you.