Student Teacher Emotional Connect

By Dr. Ganga Srinivasan 
Professor (Department of Pharmaceutics)
Vivekanand Education Society's College of Pharmacy

I will start this discussion by quote from Instagram post of Sadhguru.“A guru is not a teacher. The Guru-shishya relationship is on an energy basis. He touches you in a dimension where nobody else can. There is a space where nobody else – your husband, your wife, your child, your parent – can touch you. They can only touch you in your emotion, your mind or your body. If you want to reach the very peak of your consciousness, you need lot of energy – all the energy you have and more. A Guru-shishya relationship has become so sacred and important because when the crisis moment comes in a disciple's growth, he needs a little push on the energy level. Without that push, he doesn’t have the necessary energy to reach the peak. Only someone who is on a higher plane than yourself can give that little push to you. Nobody else.”

Historically, building success in students has always meant an emphasis on academia; which yields good grades, which increases the likelihood of obtaining a college degree and securing more earning power. But research shows it’s time to focus on another set of skills to build lifelong success—those within the social and emotional realm.

Present day classrooms are very different from olden days Gurukul where teachers were emotionally connected to their students. However it has been observed that highly emotional intelligent teachers tend to motivate their students better and understand their students' behavioural and psychological well being. Such teachers can create an effective learning classroom by their sheer will and motivation to make their students more aware in various subjects and skills. We can never forget our School teachers who made a significant impact on our lives.

As a teacher in HEI consider that each of your students is an original, and so are you. Express yourself in the style and manner that feels most real to you. Your emotional connect with the student will always pay off in the long run. Students will be very receptive to you. 

When students in HEI are able to experience a variety of relationships and ways of connecting with adults, it gives them more opportunities to feel seen and find a sense of belonging. A quiet student in the back may connect best with a teacher who encourages him/her in quiet ways. The student seeking attention may feel their needs being addressed when the teacher calls out their encouragement more publicly. It’s a fact that students are pros at recognizing when an adult is faking interest. As teachers in higher education choose something you’re genuinely interested in as a means of connecting. Identify some interests of your own that you can share as a way of opening up a conversation. Some simple ways to emotionally connect can be:
  • Emails: write an encouraging sentence to a student and/or their parent noting something you appreciate about their presence in your classroom
  • Welcoming students: Simply welcome each student by name as they enter the classroom. As they leave, make eye contact and give them an encouraging send-off.
  • Celebrations: At the end of each week/month, share aloud a way in which each student has contributed to the class. Make eye contact with each student as you share, and encourage snaps or claps as you go.
As you’re making connections with your students, you are nurturing the growth of a student’s sense of well-being and belonging. You’re creating community, together. You are a role model and taking the lead in finding ways to connect. ​They are learning from you, and you will likely not know which acknowledgement, email, phone call, sticky note, or shout out they hold onto as they move through their days and weeks, in class and out. Connection shows them that someone cares and loves them. That someone is you. Enjoy this process of planting seeds, trusting they will grow and bloom in gardens beyond your own.

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