Traditionally, questions regarding the basis for teaching relationships have been answered in terms of authority. The concept of authority as it applies to the classroom has two faces. One side of this concept is authority; where the teacher has always been the authoritarian, the disciplinarian, and the dispenser of rewards and punishments. The other face of authority concerns the teacher as the authoritative source of knowledge, the information-giver, and the arbiter of right and wrong answers.
When I was a young student in Korea, most of my teachers of were authoritarians. The students showed extreme respect for their teachers. For example, students couldn't talk back when their teachers scolded them. I am sure it was the vertical relationship where students were to respect the superiority and authority of the teacher. They were the source of learning tasks, the directions, and the answers.
However, authority as the basis for a teacher-student relationship in either of these senses is increasingly being questioned. The relationship between teachers and students in the classroom should be a positive and effective alternative upon which a constructive relationship can be based.
The definition of relationship in the 'New World Dictionary' states that the quality or state of being related, connection. This is the first definition. The core of this relationship is 'trust and respect' for the individual, together with the prior self-knowledge and view of the other necessary for helping a relationship. Where the goals of education are clear in the mind of the teacher, and where the basis for a teaching relationship is mutual trust and respect rather than authority, the search for a comfortable and productive balance between freedom and control is more easily achieved.
Mike Rose describes his teacher, Jack Mac Farland as "the teacher who saved my life" in his article, "Lives on the Boundary". Rose says, "through I developed into a good teacher, I performed from moderately well to terribly on other sorts of school literacy tasks (106). Rose says that there were few books in his house. He also says "I wrote very little during my childhood" (106).
He shows the teacher's power that can change a student's life. He doesn't mention how his teacher motivated him to read and write; yet he gives his teacher credit for helping him do so. Support of this teacher became a turning point, which changed the student for better and changed him to a better human being.
When I started studying in America, I found differences in the teaching styles of Korea and America. The students seemed very rude to their teachers. Some students even argued with their teachers. I was shocked and disappointed after I witnessed the situation. I still had a concept of authority. Although I had a question, I hesitated asking because I didn't want bother the teachers. Mr. Pat, my Special Education teacher, noticed my hesitation. Then, he helped me...