Monday, January 8, 2018

Teachers and Students as Coworkers by: Connor Grady

New years bring with them new changes.  My name is Connor Grady and I’m proud to announce that I
am a new member of the bowtie boys.  This is my first year back in the American school system (I
previously lived in England during my 7th grade, 8th grade, and freshman years) I have been a
sophomore at Riverside High School.  Taking three years away from the only system of education I had
ever known has allowed me to become more objective in how I view schooling, particularly in its
One similarity between the American and the British education system I have noticed in particular is the
relationship between teachers and students.  Before I begin, I want to make it clear that my opinion can
only really be applied to middle school and high school life as this was the first area in my life that I
honestly started thinking about my education.  My argument is this: the relationship between teachers
and students should be similar to, if not the same as, the relationship between coworkers.

It can’t be expected of teachers to be friends with every individual student.  It just doesn’t work that way.
In the same way, not all teachers can be expected to get along.  What I’m trying to encourage is a
system of rapport in the classroom. Students will be persuaded to achieve success in the classroom if
they believe that you understand them and that you have their best interests at heart.  I connect most
with teachers who I have a personal connection with.  These are teachers that know a little about me,
but are also people that I know a little about.  With these teachers, I know that they won’t intentionally
give me work that is unreasonable.  I know that I can also come to these people if I do feel that I’m
struggling and talk to them about working to a better solution.

Another way in which I believe students should be treated as coworkers is compromise.  To explain,
let me use an analogy.  Say a boss has tasked two coworkers with a long-term end goal.  The task will
not be completed on time and to a high quality unless both coworkers are communicating effectively
and sharing the work.  Now, say the task is a comprehension of the curriculum and good grades.  The
teacher and student are the coworkers.  Unless teachers communicate their ideas to the students, but
also listen to the students’ ideas and opinions, the work will not be done effectively.  Unless both
teachers understand a student’s schedule and vice versa, neither will truly be fully content with the
outcome.  Personally, I feel that many teachers do not understand that I have six other classes apart
from them; each with their own assigned homework.  I also have extra-curricular activities that
demand my time and focus.  I do not have the time to do a half hour of homework per class each
night.  I get As each marking period, but that comes with buckets of stress and chaos as I try to
manage deadlines, time, and expectations.  I think that if I had more teachers that tried to understand
my schedule, but also more that I knew the schedule of, I would be able to work without the surprise
of last minute assignments.

My final point is the respect of time.  All the time I see teachers, at the end of the quarter, cranking out
two tests in the space of a week.  This might be bearable if it was only one teacher, but when multiple
do this, life can get incredibly stressful.  Let’s assume that out of my seven classes I have three
teachers who I know will assign multiple tests during the last week of the quarter.  Now let’s add the
other teachers who will only assign one.  That is a total of at least ten tests in one week.  Now assume
that I only have a week’s notice for these tests.  It would be near impossible for me to study English,
Art, Math, both History classes, Spanish, and Driver’s Ed in one week on top of my regular
extra-curricular activities and responsibilities outside of school while still obtaining perfect scores.  

Throughout this year, I will continue this theme of a “coworker relationship” through the analysis of real
situations.  I will suggest ways that teachers can be more effective in the ways that they attempt to
work with students to achieve a common goal.  After all, shouldn’t students and teachers be on the
same side?


  1. Congratulations on your first post Connor. These are such wonderful ideas and I'm so glad that you are giving this topic the attention it deserves. Great first post and excited to read many more!

  2. Connor,
    Thanks for exploring "coworker relationships" in your first post. Rapport, compromise, and respect for time are all important for both teachers and students! Looking forward to your continued posts!