By: Sean Massa
When I was a student in junior high school, I started to notice a number of interesting changes. We had many classes, instructors, and subjects instead of just the same one all day. We had more responsibilities to get our books and more freedom to choose our classes. But the most peculiar trend I think, now that I look back on it, was this: at some point students began to distance themselves from their teachers.
After the end of each class, I noticed many students would immediately go leave the class to meet their friends or to finish their work. Granted, sometimes people would leave in a rush to their next class (and that's fine). What I now notice looking back is this curious drama that unfolded of student-teacher relations: that once class started, students would engage the teacher, but once it finished so would those engagements.
I do not think this is a good way to go about making the most of one's education. Some of the richest and thought-provoking conversations I had while in junior high and high school actually came when I decided to stay in the classroom after all the students left. I would sometimes approach the teacher directly, or stay and help put away books or throw away trash left out by others. It was in those extra 5 or 10 or 30 minutes that I would talk to the teacher. I would talk to them about their views on the topic for the day. I would ask those questions I held inside of me that I was too nervous in class because they seemed too “dumb” (newsflash: no question is too dumb to ask in a classroom, if it's relevant). I highly recommend students start to take the leap and form these friendships with their teachers, and here is why:
1) They are human beings.
2)They used to be students
3) They have rich experiences and opinions
4) They want to help you - That's their job
5) They can be your lifelong friends/mentors.
Stay after class
Go to office hours
Do your research (CV/resume)