Today, I would like to talk with you about student-teacher relations since we often don't formally express the negative impacts that some teachers have on our lives and performance at school. I guess that many students avoid confrontation after a course because "what's the point, some people are just !@#$%&".
There are a few things that I want to address: the situation at the architecture faculty in the bachelors from a student's perspective, the hierarchical positions and the experiences and thoughts you guys have.
The bachelor's design courses at the architecture faculty have often left me with a feeling of stress and uncertainty, and I'm probably not the only one. The battle with perfection and time can make the bachelor intense and chaotic from time to time. God bless; we have a teacher that guides us during these times... Or not...
There she/he is, the teacher that just isn't your match. Relatively quickly, you realise that you aren't going to be best friends, but you try to make the best out of it. For now, everything is fine.
Unfortunately, everything you do is pushed off the table during the sessions. You realise that you have a few options; you defend yourself and try to communicate in the best way possible, or you keep silent and try to obey. Both are bad options… If the teacher is not feeling you, then you are most certainly fighting a losing battle here. The only chance you really have at this point is making sure that you meet the required. At least it won't be possible to fail you, probably...
There they are; the deadlines. Unless you schedule your course well, towards the deadlines, things get even more exciting. Your capricious relation with your teacher leaves you clueless about how good you're doing and if you're going to make it. To make it even worse, during one of the last sessions, the teacher disagrees on aspects you had from the start or are directly connected to the concept.
The result? Well, probably; stress, frustration, fear, chaos, panic, etc.
The problem with this teacher-student relationship is that it is unequal. On a professional level, that is understandable; the teacher has more experience than you. On an emotional level, it leads to complications. For a teacher, there is no direct consequence if they behave or teach poorly. For a student, that's different; their grades are likely to suffer from it, something most of us desperately try to avoid in this competitive society.
I need to stress that most teachers try their utmost best to be good teachers and humans, highly valued by all students. Some other teachers probably do as well, but maybe we should start to acknowledge that this doesn't lead to good outcomes all the time. Which is nothing personal, rather something very human. And lastly, the people that are just not cut-out for teaching.
Teachers at the UvA need to fill in a survey before they start checking students’ work. In this survey, the teacher is asked about his mood, the weather, sleep, etc. This is to avoid students being "victim" of factors that negatively impact the teacher’s emotions and, therefore, students’ grades. Maybe we should start something similar at the faculty of architecture. After every course, the teacher is evaluated on his performance as a teacher; whether they are engaged, fair, honest, thoughtful, active, etc. The result; a bit more reason for a teacher to try to be the best version of themselves. If a teacher performs poorly, their supervisors can talk to them. Does it happen often? Well, the university should consider whether they want teachers that negatively influence the emotions of students. I truly think this assessment would have avoided many frustrating situations in my studies.
This brings me to the final part; the experience of you guys and girls. We would like to invite you to share your experiences with teachers and what you think about this topic. Have you been able to solve your troublesome relationship? Or are you still puzzled every time it happens? Or do you have any other interesting information or thoughts? Please, send us an email with your name and the date/time you can briefly meet. If there are enough reactions, then we can continue to discuss this topic in future editions.