Teaching is About Relationships: Be an Ideal Friend (Guest Post)

In this guest post, Journalist Cheryl Hearts discusses the qualities of an ideal friend and the importance of teachers including these qualities into their everyday practice.

Andy and Lionel agree that being a good friend is important!

There is a belief that every person that we cross paths with during our life comes into our life for a reason. Some are there to show us our worth, and some are for us to show them theirs. Either way, every single soul we interact with teaches us a lesson. However, some people do not only help us with our personal dilemmas but also educate us on various other matters. So we would call those people “teachers.”

Being a teacher is a very respectful position. You have the power to pass the knowledge you possess to other people, shape them as individuals, and even predetermine what is that they would be doing further in life. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Teachers are often intermediaries between students and their goals. Therefore, for both parties to fulfill their roles and achieve their aims, a strong — virtually infallible — connection needs to be established. As well as that, boundaries need to be set beforehand so that nothing would distract neither sides from getting to their final destination.

Teacher-Student Tandem

However, while it is commonly agreed that the relationship the teacher has with their students is one of a kind, a lot of people argue as to what it should look like. There are different viewpoints on how close this relationship can be both potentially and in practice. Some people say that the results of the educational process tend to be significantly better when the relationship between teacher and their student is formal and somewhat detached. The reasoning behind this idea is that public relationships which include a clearly outlined authority figure that a teacher is to help students not to get too comfortable and try to show their best side by working hard. At the same time, private relationships usually encompass those within a family or among friends, the environments that are thought to be more accepting and understanding of flaws, which eventually hinders progress. This is why it is commonly believed that despite being friendly, teachers should still keep a certain distance from their students.

Another point of view, however, is that without creating a real bond, teaching will not be effective no matter how advanced the practices and methods a given teacher uses. The explanation to this lies in basic human nature as we are usually much more susceptible to the people we like and trust. Therefore, to maximize the amount of information we absorb and the skills we learn from our teachers, it is important for us to build a trusting relationship with them. One of the patterns such a relationship can follow is for the teacher to be an ideal friend for their student. Before we go any further into exploring how this could affect the teaching practice, it is important to clarify who an ideal friend is and how a teacher could become one to their students.

Qualities of a Perfect Friend

Throughout our lives, we encounter thousands of people, many of whom, even if it is for a limited amount of time, we can call friends. But it is rarely that people we let close to us are actually ideal friends as they may lack some qualities intrinsic to a perfect friend:

Someone Who Listens to You 

The teacher needs to be able to be open-minded and susceptible to the suggestions that come through from their students. The best teachers are those who let their students voice their opinion, even if they do not agree with it entirely. It is often that in such arguments, knowledge is born: disagreements, if approached correctly, bring out the truth needed for further development.

Someone Who Would Never Put You down to Hurt Your Feelings

One of the most important things a teacher needs to understand is that due to human nature, it is often that people feel vulnerable and insecure when they are not proficient in something. When learning something, people tend to make a lot of mistakes at first, as it is how they gain experience. So a good teacher must be supportive and considerate of their students. The way in which a teacher treats their students’ errors can define whether a particular student would have the strength to better themselves or would altogether give up learning.

Someone Who Helps You Solve Your Problems

While this point does not particularly focus on personal problems students may have as it is up to the individual to decide whether they would like to get involved or not. There are still plenty of issues a student can have throughout their educational journey. A good teacher is the one who understands the challenges that can potentially startle their students and be ready to help them overcome those.

Someone Who Respects You

Respect is the basis of any human relationship, so it is vital to have mutual deference to ensure your teacher-student relationship is fair and successful. Unless you respect each other, you will not be able to cooperate effectively, which is the key to working towards shared goals.

Someone Trustworthy

Last but not least, trust constitutes a large part of our lives. Hence it cannot be omitted in such an intricate business a student-teacher relationship is.


Overall, all of the features above are what makes a good friend. However, at the same time, they are also crucial to ensuring a trusting relationship, which is vital for a teacher-student tandem. To make the teaching process as fruitful as possible, you need to appeal personally to your students. So that they would be more receptive to the knowledge you have to share. Otherwise, any intention of advancing in your profession will not be successful, and you as a teacher would not be able to reach your full potential. Maintaining a friendly relationship with your students is beneficial for everyone. Moreover, it positively affects the learning process as it not only creates a valuable bond, but it also helps to maintain a positive working atmosphere.

Author’s Bio: Cheryl Hearts is a writer and journalist from Boston, Massachusetts. Her passion for writing started at an early age and evolved during the high school years. She enjoyed creating her own stories, so she decided to make writing her career.  After earning a degree in Journalism, Cheryl started running her own blog CherylHearts.com where she’s covering topics of great interest to society.

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