Success in school tied to positive staff, student relationships

Samuel Davisson, Reporter

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  Students at D.C. Everest Senior High School, or any high school for that matter, are going to have different views of their teachers, classes, and school administration.

  In an ideal world, all students would get along well with their teachers, and be successful in their classes.  In the real world, some students enjoy school, and some do not.

  “It always boils down to the relationship between the teacher and the student.  Students who have good relationships with their teachers become better learners,” said Mr. Michael Plaza, health teacher at D.C. Everest.

  “There are some teachers that I have a close relationship with.  I guess the level that we confront each other and communicate at is different,” said senior Trisha Yang.

  Although it makes it easier for students and teachers to form connections, it is not a requirement that a student like the subject matter of a teacher’s class.

  “There’s a bunch of students who have graduated that I keep in touch with that hated my class,” said social studies teacher Mr. Travis Greil.

 Some students agree that they can form positive relationships with teachers of subjects they dislike.

  “Biology isn’t my strong suit, but the teacher is pretty nice and understanding of kids.  He’s passionate about teaching,” said sophomore Peter Fisher.

  Similarly, sophomore Kayleigh Oestricher said her relationships with her teachers “depends on the teacher. I think it depends more on them than their subject.”

  Teachers note that more than just the classes a student takes can factor into their attitude about school.

  “I think any time you are in extra activities it reinforces teamwork, responsibility, and respect, and that’s never a bad thing to have going into a learning environment,” said Mr. Plaza.

  A student’s attitude about school can also be influenced by their home life.

  “Nothing works in isolation.  If you have a really crappy home life, you are unlikely to interact well with anyone, and your teachers are no exception to that,” Mr. Greil said.  “If you’re struggling at home, all areas of your life will struggle.”

  Unfortunately, for some students, there is nothing keeping them in class other than the need to graduate or have good attendance.

   “A lot of them, it’s just because they don’t want to be hassled with truancy, which is sad because they’ll get no success out of it.  A lot of kids just show up to graduate,” said Mr. Greil, “It’s the nature of life, there are going to be people you like and there are going to be people you don’t, and you have to deal with that.”

  Although there are many hard to control factors that influence a learning environment, the administrative staff is always working to make school a more positive and productive place for students.

  “In our monthly faculty meetings, we have a ‘point of connection’ with students.  Last month what we did was have teachers kick in a few dollars for needy kids at school,” said Assistant Principal Jeffrey See.  “Pretty soon a local business heard about it and joined on as well. Some kids were able to give their mom or dad a Christmas gift for the first time last year because of it.”

  Some students may also not like school simply because of a lack of interesting classes.  Mr. See hopes that the new classrooms being built will help with this.

  “We’re being very purposeful with our building additions.  You’ll be able to see into these classrooms, so hopefully kids that aren’t in Tech Ed or Ag Ed, or other classes like that might see something they want to try out,” said Mr. See.

  “I think [creating positive relationships] it’s on the minds of all administrators and teachers.  It’s gotten harder through time, but it’s certainly something we know is extremely effective and important,” said Mr. Plaza

  Many students believe that not only could better relationships with their teachers create a more positive school environment, it could also make them better, faster learners.

  “I feel like they [teachers I like] understand me better, and can help me learn better.  They’re more fun and better at teaching,” said Oestricher.


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