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Reaching beyond the classroom

Should student-teacher interactions be confined to school hours?

education Updated: May 29, 2012 13:07 IST
Vincy Davis

Where does one draw the line between teacher and student interactions? Should there be a line in the first place?

As teacher-student equations change with the times. HT Education finds out what both parties have to say.

Media professor from Lady Shri Ram College, Vartika Nanda, says, “Teaching is not like a corporate job. It’s a continuous process. I find it is very difficult to restrict a student from reaching beyond the classroom, especially when she is eager to learn or is someone who needs a little more help than others. The extra attention goes a long way in an individual’s life.”

Psychology professor Shefali Mishra of Jesus and Mary College says, “There’s only a thin line between our professional and private lives. Teachers are connected emotionally with students as well. Adolescence is a crucial age where students have personal issues to tackle along with academics. They may seek our help in such cases.”

Being college professors makes it easier to a certain degree in this case as most students are mature enough to discriminate between real issues and random events that would require their teachers’ attention. “Being a psychology teacher, I would be more disturbed if students don’t talk about what’s happening in their lives with me!” adds Mishra.

The scenario is different at the school level where dealing with much younger students poses a completely different set of problems. Teachers juggle work outside of teaching such as preparing lessons, correcting students’ work and meeting students individually. This typically accounts for 15 hours per week. An average week also includes time spent planning with colleagues, organising extra-curricular activities, supporting students with special needs, and staff and parent meetings. All this makes it much harder for teachers to pay attention to their personal responsibilities.

Realising this predicament, some schools such as Bharat National Public School (BNPS), Karkardooma, have come up with innovative solutions. At BNPS, all teachers are required to give out their phone numbers to their students. They allot an hour after school which suits the teacher between which students can call in to clarify their doubts. “School is next only to home in a student’s life. Though they are not entirely equipped to draw the line between relevant problems and casual talk, it is important for teachers to be accessible to students. It makes them more forthcoming in the classroom thereby aiding their growth,” says Ancy Davis, social science teacher at BNPS.

Smit Malkan
BA (economics), Jai Hind College, Mumbai
We have both types of teachers - ones who are enthusiastic beyond classroom hours and those who stick to the allotted time. It depends on the student-teacher rapport and how keen the teacher is. Teachers have the full right to draw the line between their personal and professional lives and students should learn to respect that

Rose Christina Topno
BA (psychology), Jesus and Mary College, Delhi
There is enough time in school or college to clarify doubts. So unless the teachers themselves say so, students should keep this in mind before calling up their teachers after classes. They should respect the time factor as well and be sensible enough to not call at odd hours

Rubik Angelo Barar
BTech
(bioinformatics), Amity University, Noida
Being a teacher is not the same as being a doctor who is on call at all times. They are not answerable to anything and everything a student puts out there. Teachers have a life as well