I’ve gone through twelve miserable years of school, and I’ve got perhaps three teacher friends to show for it. What does that say of me? In junior high, I was much too immature to realize the value of having relationships with those in authority positions. I constantly viewed them as the enemy; foreign people who didn’t know me and wanted my life to be hell, utilizing worksheets and pop quizzes. Sometimes I was right; sometimes I just didn’t click with teachers from day one and had to suffer in their class for the rest of the year. Sometimes, I was the teacher’s pet. I was called on first, people asked me to bargain with them for treats like extra lunch time or an extension of a test. But be aware, this is not nearly the same thing as being friends with a teacher.
Teacher’s pets are precisely what they sound like, little puppies and kitties that like to be petted and fawned over. But friendship operates on a different level. There’s always an aspect of teacher-student inherent in any of these relationships, but these two individuals also see each other on equal planes in a way. You know their kid’s name, you spend time in their classroom when you don’t have to, and you can go beyond small talk without forcing it.
And you can look to them for advice. No, not for how to do this sort of problem, or how to approach this test, but for which classes to take next year, or how to proportion your schedule. It has taken me years to realize this, but some of your teachers are actually human. They’ve got wives and husbands and houses and they go to Chick-fil-a just like you and I. They’re also significantly older, and know so much about life. I don’t want to make a blanket statement here, so I won’t, but some teachers definitely have more to offer than perhaps your parents (only in some aspects though). They’re in high school, and they see the struggles that every student faces. They’re at least a fraction of a percent more sympathetic, unless they just have a bitter and pessimistic view of high schoolers, in which case they have no place as a teacher in high school.
These people decide your grades, but they have so much more to offer. In reality, we are all selfish yet ambitious; we’ve got goals and colleges that we want to reach, and having a genuine teacher-friend can come in handy. They’ve got nothing but positive comments to spill into a college rec, they’ll vouch for you if no one else will, and they have got genuine advice to offer.