The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

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The Importance of Resonating with Teachers on a Personal Level

Beloved+teacher%2C+Mrs.+Leeann+Nelson+with+students+Maeve+Camoletto+and+Kayden+Prieto
Beloved teacher, Mrs. Leeann Nelson with students Maeve Camoletto and Kayden Prieto

In first grade, I attended Francis W. Parker in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Although I only went there for three years, I cherished every moment of my childhood there. I loved my friends, my classes, and the playground; but most of all, I loved my teachers. Full of delight and joy, their attitudes brought a smile to my young face, enough to motivate a seven-year-old to go to school each morning with an eagerness to learn.

It’s rare to find a teacher that resonates with you on such a personal level, but, that year, I found Mrs. Greenberg. Being a shy student, I confided in her, opening my young arms to her warm embrace. She made me feel welcomed, inspired and curious, traits that are hard to come across in a school environment. That year, I flourished, indulging in everything my classes had to offer. Without Mrs. Greenberg, my year would have been infinitely more lonesome, dull, and tedious.

Many LFHS students feel similar ways about the staff at our school.

“Creating a good relationship with a teacher makes it so much easier to reach out when you have questions. I feel like I have a pretty close relationship with almost all my teachers, and this enables me to feel more comfortable asking questions,” said senior Sara Khater. This allows students to discuss topics that they are unfamiliar with, and therefore resolve potential gaps in learning, subsequently enhancing students’ academic success.. 

Declan Boyle, a junior, also discussed his view on student-teacher communication.

“I think that some teachers are extremely passionate about guiding their students to become more engaged learners, and they want to see me have a passion too. This dynamic considerably makes my experience in school better,” Boyle said.

Students’ Experiences with “Above-and-Beyond” Teachers

Several teachers within Lake Forest schools never fall short of making their students smile.

Photo Courtesy of Mr. Brian Runft.

“Mr. Runft, my freshman year math teacher, helped me immensely when I was struggling outside of school. He was very supportive, and I’m not sure I would have been able to make it as far without his help. At the end of the semester, I performed well on the final, and a big portion of why I did was definitely because of how understanding he was,” said sophomore Maeve Camoletto.

Coco Henretta, also a sophomore, explained her experience with her eighth grade social studies teacher, Mrs. Birmingham.

“She was kind and understanding; it made me feel like I was in a safe and comfortable environment. It was obvious she wanted us to learn as much as possible, and this motivated me to grow as a student. I appreciate how she made an effort to focus on all my classmates’ success too,” Henretta said.

Additionally, Mrs. Carolyn Konz, an English teacher at LFHS, has had a similar impact on many students. Her unrelenting support for each and every student makes her an incredibly valuable figure, and her charisma and charm evoke excitement for everyone in her class. Gabby Heintzelman, a junior, shared her experience with Mrs. Konz as her freshman-year English teacher.

Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Carolyn Konz.

“She was easy to connect and communicate with. I loved how she was able to maintain a balance of humor while teaching us so much,” said Heintzelman.

I remember my freshman year, when I was having a bad day. Mrs. Konz happened to see me during study hall and asked if I wanted to help her replant some flowers. I said yes, and we spent the whole period talking and getting to know each other better. I still remember this moment clearly as it opened my eyes to the importance of feeling close with your teachers. I excelled in her class after that, feeling much more motivated and enthusiastic.

Studies Show the Benefits of Positive Student-Teacher Relationships

Several studies have been conducted by psychologists nationally to confirm skepticism on whether student-teacher bonds truly have an impact on student performance.

In an article from the American Psychological Association, authors Sara Rimm-Kaufman, PhD, and Lia Sandilos, PhD, wrote that, “Improving students’ relationships with teachers has important, positive and long-lasting implications for both students’ academic and social development.” 

Rimm-Kaufman and Sandilos also reported on a study of how teachers’ relationships with younger children played an important role in their academic and social development: “Among kindergarteners, students reported liking school more and experiencing less loneliness if they had a close relationship with their teachers. Further, kindergarteners with better teacher-student relationships showed better performance on measures of early academic skills (Birch & Ladd, 1997).” Demonstrated even in students as young as this, there is an obvious benefit to close student-teacher bonds. 

On the other hand, studies on the academic and social development of students who lacked a close connection to their teachers generated opposing results in their learning abilities and social skills. Taken from Rimm-Kaufman and Sandilos’ article, they wrote, “…students who had more conflict with their teachers or showed more dependency toward their teachers in kindergarten also had lower academic achievement and more behavioral problems regarding poorer work habits and more discipline problems (Hamre & Pianta, 2001).”

How can we ensure teachers resonate with their students in a positive way?

For starters, it takes cooperation and dedication from both sides. Students must be willing to devote time inside and out of the classroom to have individual interactions with their teachers, and teachers need to recognize the significance of this relationship.

Here is some advice for both sides:

Photo Courtesy of Stella Henretta.
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About the Contributor
Stella Henretta
Stella Henretta, Staff Writer
 During the fall, junior Stella Henretta's committed to Varsity tennis, but switches gears to lacrosse during the spring. On weekends, Stella works as a coach at GLASA to help disabled athletes play tennis. She’s also a cashier at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s cafe, where she loves to take walks among the flowers after her shift. This school year, she hopes that through her cumulative experiences and knowledge, she will be successful in providing her readers with information about events happening both in and out of LFHS!
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