Coping with Classroom Environments

Each of us has had a variety of teachers. Like the porridge being tasted by Goldilocks, some were just right and others were too hot or too cold. For some students the match can spell the difference between heaven and hell; success or failure. What follows is a process of discovering what sort of teacher relationship the student needs.

The following teacher/student relationships are rated on the basis of the teacher's primary role in establishing the relationship environment and the student's reaction to that environment. Thus, it is a rating of reactions of a person in a subordinate role to a person in a superior role.

Authoritarian: A superior-subordinate relationship where the teacher is the only and final authority; where the student 'knows his place' and is expected to stay there. This relationship favors the student who is self-sufficient and can cope with it by being either independent of it, or dependent on it.
Critical/Pressured: Some, but few, students need a 'task-master' to cause them to do what they would otherwise fail to do because of one or more inherent traits. Strong non-scholastic motivations may be involved. Traits benefiting from imposed discipline and pressure are avoidance of routine, lack of attention to detail and methodical procedure, need of supervision, balance against self-oriented dogmatism.
Distant/Impersonal: Such a relationship may be the preference of either the teacher, the student, or both. If so, the validity of such a relationship can be determined only through identification of the real traits involved. Otherwise, it may, instead, be simply the lack of an outgoing personality, gregariousness, aggression, persuasion or other social factors. For some, it is a preferred and satisfactory relationship which they do not want altered.
Friendly/Distant: It is probable that the teacher is gregarious and benevolent, but not equipped with aggression, persuasion, dominance or other traits which would lead to closer involvement with the student. If so, the nature of some students would narrow the gap; the nature of others would widen it. The end result would probably be a relationship mutually agreeable to all concerned.
Harmonious: A relationship of mutual trust and respect where each person is an asset to the other. Certain types of persons need certain other types.
Benevolent: This rating indicates the response of the student to a teacher sacrificially dedicated to his/her good and gain. In most cases, the rating will be high. Nonetheless, there will be those who do not, or cannot, benefit from benevolence; instead, they exploit it to their own detriment.
Tolerant/Permissive: Some teachers can maintain institutional standards and reach their objectives through a tolerant/permissive relationship with the students. And there are some students who thrive in such an atmosphere. They are the exception rather than the rule. Exceptional people most often require exceptional conditions if they are to develop exceptional potential.