The famous English singer and songwriter Adele is known to move people through her emotional and soulful music. However, recently Adele had an emotional moment herself. At the ITV concert special, An Audience With Adele, when Adele was asked about her inspiration and supporter, she passionately spoke about her English teacher, Ms. McDonald. She said, “I had a teacher at Chestnut Grove who taught me English. That was Miss McDonald… She got me really into English literature. Like, I’ve always been obsessed with English, and obviously, now I write lyrics.” Little did she know, her teacher was in the audience!
Their reunion clearly represented how important they are to each other and made us shed a tear as well!
This is an exceptional example of how important early childhood teacher-child relationships are. Adele vividly explains how her english teacher’s energy and teaching eventually helped her write songs. Let’s dig a little deeper into this aspect of childhood.
Initiative vs. Guilt
The third psychological stage of a human, according to psychologist Erik Erikson occurs at the age of 3 to 5, when children start school. This is the stage where their secondary socialization starts (when children start interacting and learning from people beyond their family, i.e., after primary socialization). This is the stage where children tend to interact with the outside world building their interpersonal relationships, forming bonds beyond their filial ones.
This is the best stage to teach children initiative-taking and creativity. That is why this transition has to be as smooth as possible. This is also one of the most inquisitive stages of a child. So if embarrassed or ridiculed by a parent or english teacher, it could discourage questioning and critical thinking, in turn causing guilt.
That is why, especially at this stage, teachers’ roles are extremely important. This is also the stage where a child is taught about honesty, love, patience, kindness, and appreciation—qualities required for a fruitful life. But they have to be brought in in natural and realistic ways, for which teachers have to do a lot of heavy lifting.
Industry vs. Inferiority
The fourth stage occurs from the ages of 5 to 12. This is when children learn specific skills like adding, subtracting, and reading. That is why teachers play an even more important role. A child’s ability to grasp these and communicate with peers is directly proportional to their self-esteem. However, failure is important for them to develop some modesty and respect. The balance between competence and modesty can only be brought in by an emotionally mature adult, in this case, the teacher.
When children believe that their teacher will give comfort, encouragement, and emotional support, they are more likely to involve themselves in the classroom and be eager to study. Teachers are also the decision-makers when it comes to conflict resolution. That is why the reverence poured into a teacher’s role is extremely high. If the teacher-child connection is regarded as unsupportive or unfavorable, children may divert from the beneficial education taking place in the classroom and limit their relationships with others.
Learning an additional language might make transitioning to school more difficult for multilingual youngsters. If they are experiencing difficulty, establishing a positive relationship with their instructor can help them adjust to and prosper in the classroom. For children from low-income homes, and especially children of color, the teacher-student connection may be especially important in maintaining equal learning opportunities, especially when teacher expectations and demands rise over time.
In a research study done by Chen et al., they stated, “interactions with teachers and peers are critical for children’s social, behavioral, and academic development in the classroom context… It is backed by evidence that teacher influence at the individual level and at the classroom level is unique and that each contributes to child-perceived peer social experiences. In terms of the relationships between teachers and children, our study discovered that teacher-reported closeness and conflict with children in the fall led to peer social support and peer victimization perceived by children in the spring. This indicates that children who have close relationships with their teachers tend to feel more socially supported by peers and that children who have conflicts with teachers tend to experience increased perceived peer victimization over the academic year.” This aptly concludes why healthy child-teacher relationships are extremely important for healthy and sustainable psychological growth.
Written by: Samiksha