Traditionally students expect to be taught. They believe that it is the teacher’s responsibility to pass on to them the information, knowledge and understanding in a topic appropriate at the stage of their studies. This leads to the traditional role of the teacher as one of the providers of information in the lecture context. However, as modern education evolves, people’s expectation for teachers’ roles also develops. For example, a popular idea claims that teachers shouldn’t be friends or role models for students. This idea does not hold water.
There are many benefits for the friendship between teachers and students. In my view, Friendship, in its proper meaning, is a healthy, respectful connection between two people and is the ideal connection between any two people, especially when those people are in some productive situation, such as teaching and learning. To start with, such a relationship helps with the students’ growth. Young students are at a critical stage of life, during which they are in bad need of communication with somebody they can trust and share their experience with. Teachers, as intelligent adults, can contribute a lot to such a healthy and reciprocal relationship.
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Secondly, the sound teacher-student relationship facilitates the entire teaching process. As stated in the first paragraph, a teacher’s major/principal role should be a mentor who imparts knowledge or information to the pupils. To accomplish this role, a pre-existing friendship that acts like lubricant oil will eradicate all the obstacles. The mentor has already won the trust and respect of his students and thus can pass on knowledge more conveniently. Thirdly, the teacher can also take advantage of such friendship. Nowadays, reports about the tension between teachers and students are constantly seen on the media. If the teachers can cultivate a good relationship with students, such tension can be ridden.
The teacher’s role as the role model is also indispensable for the students. Teenagers and youngsters are at a delicate period of time in life: they are too young to know what’s good and what’s wrong, and they are too vulnerable to face the challenges and difficulties alone. In this sense, they crave some guidance and assistance, which can be from their peers, parents, and, more importantly, their teachers or tutors. Teachers, who are widely regarded as adolescents’ mental and behavioural mentors, can better fit this role than anybody else. Imagine what kind of achievement Plato could have scored without the instruction and guidance from Socrates. In conclusion, teachers’ roles are really diversified. Teachers’ roles have gone far beyond the traditional information provider; they can be friends and role models to students.