How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

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poochyena
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How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby poochyena » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:28 pm UTC

*bolded the important part

Hope the title makes sense, anyways, during history class(we weren't doing anything at the time) i was talking about things we can do to make the schools safer, and one of the things i thought would be good to do is make it easier for students to talk to someone, or get info on a way to contact someone they can talk to when feeling depressed or being bullied or ect. since most students that do bad things at school are because of depression and not having anyone to talk to. and the day before i had typed up a small thing saying that exact thing(alittle longer though), and i said hey, i wonder what my history teacher thinks about it, so i handed him the paper, went back to my seat, and he stared at the paper for like 10minutes, fast forward 3 hours later, i'm called up to the office, one of the reasons was so the principal could discuss with me about what i had wrote and in the end he asked me to come up with ideas for things that teachers could do to get students to be ok with talking to them/a way for teachers to say "hey, students, if you need to talk about something, just talk to me and i can talk to you, or direct you to someone who can talk to you and help you out.".

which currently doesn't seem like what is happening seeing how my history teacher reported me for what i had said <.<

anyways, ideas?

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Dark Avorian » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:44 pm UTC

Wait, did your history teacher report what you said in a bad way? Anyway, a lot of it has to do with culture at a school, if teachers are aloof and scary, no one will talk to them. At my high school, which I will admit was a very progressive private school, we called teachers by their first names, had small advisor groups with specific teachers, and were constantly encouraged to talk to teachers whenever we had problems in class. The result being that we were all friendly with our teachers, and some of us had fast friendships.
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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:21 am UTC

Dark Avorian wrote:Anyway, a lot of it has to do with culture at a school, if teachers are aloof and scary, no one will talk to them.


This seems the most important thing to me.

At my school, we called our teachers by their surnames, and addressed as "sir" or "miss" when not using their names and many/most of the teachers taught in suits, hardly an informal environment. Still, the teachers always made an effort to be friendly and approachable and, when we were set problems, they (well, not the bad ones obviously)'d come round and talk to us about them and check we were getting along ok. During labs again, the teacher would be wondering around, checking things and chatting as they did so.

All of this made the teachers seem far more approachable despite the formal environment.

This will obviously not work in all schools (as there is never a one-size-fits-all solution, particularly when it comes to education) as it requires students who are willing to behave without necessarily having someone glaring down at them the whole time however, with students who are not too disruptive (underprodcutiveness isn't a huge problem though), it ought to help simply to have teachers circulate like this.
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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby quetzal1234 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:23 am UTC

My highschool strived for a very formal environment, but the teachers and the students did get along pretty well. unfortunately, I think this was mostly because the school was small and the administration was unsympathetic to both teachers and students, so we all banded together in oppression. We did have advisors, which did help some. If we had a problem, we could just talk to the our advisor. Also, our teachers had long office hours and were always happy to chat about whatever happened to be going on in the world, which helped as well.
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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby dudiobugtron » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:25 pm UTC

If I had to guess, I'd say your History Teacher told the principal because he was concerned that you might be depressed or being bullied, and you felt like you couldn't talk to anyone about it.
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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Andromeda321 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:42 pm UTC

I remember at my university a lot of the professors would have "safe zone" stickers on their offices that were passed out by the campus GSA. It was ideally so LGBTQ students could know they were in a safe place to talk about their issues etc but fact of the matter is a lot of those professors ended up hearing stories etc from a lot of different students because it was a zone where you wouldn't be judged etc.

So maybe make up some "safe zone" stickers for teachers who are ok with talking to students who might want someone to listen? Recalling that period in my life I had a big problem worrying about being judged for my various woes and worries (I was particularly paranoid a teacher would bring up my bad coursework in their class or what have you), so something discretely telling students this is a teacher who will be non-judgemental might be good for some. Not everyone, at least, but it's nonetheless a damn easy thing to do compared to the difficulty of completely changing a culture or whatever.

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Jahoclave » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:14 am UTC

dudiobugtron wrote:If I had to guess, I'd say your History Teacher told the principal because he was concerned that you might be depressed or being bullied, and you felt like you couldn't talk to anyone about it.

Pretty much this, though the assignment bit of it seems weird. But the teacher's reaction is pretty much justified in the, "I'm not qualified for this", pass it on the chain, cover my ass dynamic. It's actually what they're advised to do.

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby chocopancake » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:16 am UTC

I'm still trying to figure out how to do this in university. I was never very close to any of my teachers in high school, excepting perhaps one science teacher. I've always tried to make myself friendlier and more open to teachers/professors and I've found it's easier at the university level. Maybe this is because we're all supposed to be considered "adults" as opposed to the obvious division of teacher vs. student in high school? I semi like your principal's reaction to involve you in the planning to make a change, semi think maybe he/she should get on the internet and engage in some discourse with others about this topic. You can't be the first one who has dealt with this problem!

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Tide » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:34 pm UTC

In my school I've always felt a great trust for the teachers and have at least three or four that I'd feel completely comfortable telling if anything troubled me. I don't know exactly what it is that creates this kind of student-teacher relationship but some things I think may be contributing:
Firstly, the teachers aren't locked up in their own classrooms all the time, but walks around in the hallways pretty much, and will sometimes stop and chat. This also means that they know pretty much about the students lives from start, how things work, how the climate in the school is, who hangs with who etc. At least I find it easier to talk about problems with someone who lives in the same world as I do.
Secondly, something all my favourite teachers have in common is their way of treating me as an adult. Many teachers try to act like a teenager to "get down to the same level" as the teenager they talk to. This is generally a catastrophal method, as the teen won't be fooled, and the adult will only look ridiculous. Instead, teachers should try to really be adults and treat their student with the respect and expectations of understanding, they would treat another adult with. Basically, they should try to get a more equal relationship - but through treating the student as an adult and not the opposite.
On top of all that, it's important to understand that some teachers and some students just get along, and some just don't. What's important is that everyone feel like they have someone to talk to.

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Tirian » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:13 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:But the teacher's reaction is pretty much justified in the, "I'm not qualified for this", pass it on the chain, cover my ass dynamic. It's actually what they're advised to do.


In at least New York State, teachers are legally bound to report any known or suspected cases of abuse, neglect, maltreatment, or a student who is suspected to be planning to harm himself or someone else. That might feel like CYA to an outsider, but it feels different when the system is designed to remove our capacity to judge such a case on its merits.

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Dark Avorian » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:41 pm UTC

chocopancake wrote:I'm still trying to figure out how to do this in university. I was never very close to any of my teachers in high school, excepting perhaps one science teacher. I've always tried to make myself friendlier and more open to teachers/professors and I've found it's easier at the university level. Maybe this is because we're all supposed to be considered "adults" as opposed to the obvious division of teacher vs. student in high school? I semi like your principal's reaction to involve you in the planning to make a change, semi think maybe he/she should get on the internet and engage in some discourse with others about this topic. You can't be the first one who has dealt with this problem!


I dunno, it's a hell of a lot harder for me at university. I guess part of it is that most of my professors are very senior tenured people, who, while nice, are damn intimidating, and have more senior underlings than you to talk to.
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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby P13808 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:28 pm UTC

Dark Avorian wrote: if teachers are aloof and scary, no one will talk to them.

This really seems to hit it with most students I know. (Background: I am a high school senior.) The teachers who are kind and friendly will have students openly talk to them. The ones who come across as apathetic or psychotic will have students flee the room as soon as possible.

I've also noticed the first category is filled to the brim with elective and honours teachers while the second is almost all core class teachers. Further, a teacher may switch categories from class to class. Which, the main difference to note is how much students care: few want to teach those who don't want to learn.

So what I'm getting at here is that students need teachers who show a lighter side and caring about their students. Teachers need students who care about their teaching to provide this. How to get that, however, is something I do not know the answer to without some major measures--measures that are almost certainly off-topic.

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Dopefish » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:54 pm UTC

For professors who hold office hours or optional tutorials, I found going to those almost always lead to good relationships with the profs in question, and would eventually drift off to a more friendly chat towards the end instead of strictly class material stuff.

I suspect part of that is the professors seeing that you (at least appear to) care about the material so you're "on their side" in trying to actually learn things, as opposed to being someone who only cares about the grades and not the material.

I don't recall having most of those options in high school so I wasn't necessarily super close to my teachers in those days. That said, teachers who head up or oversee extra curricular activies can be pretty friendly, so getting to know teachers through those avenues can be viable.

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby PJRILSTU » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:00 pm UTC

This topic is likely not being followed anymore, but I thought I would put my two cents in.

At the school I work at, we now have little buisness cards with a yellow ribbon and depression hotline number on it. All staff is trained to know what the card means. Any student any time can choose to present the card to the staff, and the staff is responsible for getting the student any help they need no questions asked. The students can talk to the teacher if they choose but the teacher is not to pry if the student does not want to talk. We send the student to guidance and the guidance staff works on getting the student help. The card is equipped with a hotline as well.

In addition, we spend about 20 minutes a month discussing special topics with the students. These topics include: stress management, social pressure, self-esteem, safe decision making, standing up for others etc. Not nearly enough time in my opinion, but better than nothing.

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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Dark Avorian » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:38 pm UTC

I think that is a step in right direction, but also somewhat misses something. Sure, the priority should definitely be on making sure that the teachers are there to support kids when they need them most. The problem is that, unless I'm reading this wrong, this seems like the type of thing that is only supposed to be used in situations of an equivalent severity to say depression. If that's the case then why are we supposed to expect students to suddenly begin trusting teachers for help at the moment when they are in the darkest place? A place which they may well be in as a result of the school system's stresses.

Teachers need to be available before that moment. There needs to be a rapport already present so that when a student is at the depths, they know where to turn.
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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby merrak » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:27 pm UTC

Dopefish wrote:...
For professors who hold office hours or optional tutorials, I found going to those almost always lead to good relationships with the profs in question, and would eventually drift off to a more friendly chat towards the end instead of strictly class material stuff.

I suspect part of that is the professors seeing that you (at least appear to) care about the material so you're "on their side" in trying to actually learn things, as opposed to being someone who only cares about the grades and not the material...


This is the impression I get of students who come visit me during my office hours. In any relationship, both parties like to feel respected, valued, and appreciated. I don't think the student/teacher relationship is any different. Once mutual respect has been established, a lot of the tension in the room should go away.
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Re: How to make teachers friendlier and easier to talk to?

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:19 pm UTC

PJRILSTU wrote:At the school I work at, we now have little buisness cards with a yellow ribbon and depression hotline number on it. All staff is trained to know what the card means. Any student any time can choose to present the card to the staff, and the staff is responsible for getting the student any help they need no questions asked.

Do you have to say "valar morghulis" when you present the card?
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