Managing relationships with studentsQ: Dear Rhee,
After attending one of your seminars, I have decided to pull all communication between our students and the studio into the office because I’m seeing improper teacher–student relationships happening around me. I have run into our students hanging out with their teachers around town and they’re constantly texting or calling each other. Although I have learned the hard way how to keep my distance, I have a lot of younger teachers who believe it’s OK to be friends with their students. Do you have any information on why it is important for teachers to maintain a professional relationship with their students? Any help would be appreciated. —Emily
A: Hello Emily,
I have included information about personal relationships with students from my Faculty and Staff Handbook below. I support your effort wholeheartedly and I believe that the same principle applies to the relationships our faculty have with the parents of our students, which is also covered in this excerpt. —Rhee
In an effort to avoid a conflict of interest or the impression of favoritism, we discourage personal relationships between teachers and students or their parents. Class placement and other important educational decisions are less complicated when a teacher has no personal ties to a student or parent.
A teacher’s success is based on a professional teacher–student relationship. Young teachers who socialize with students can diminish the respect they need to be effective teachers and role models.
Do not give your personal telephone numbers to students or their parents. All communication with teachers and staff should be made through the school office.
Parents may approach you between or during classes with concerns or questions. Explain that you can’t disrupt your class or start it late and tell them to direct their comments to the school office.