Boys in upper school are just beginning to challenge their world and develop their individual viewpoints. They want to know “how” and “why,” so it’s important for the teacher to communicate the relevance of the subject matter. And, to encourage independent thinking, students should be exposed to scenarios that have a variety of solutions.
The student-teacher relationship will be tested in new ways during this phase. Teachers must recognize the importance of creating a safe space where students feel they will be heard. Sometimes the teacher’s most important job is to simply listen and be present. When boys see that teachers are invested in their success, trust develops and they become less hesitant to ask for help.
Fostering an authentic relationship often requires a time investment outside the classroom. By attending and supporting students’ varied activities, teachers can demonstrate that they care for more than just the academic life of the boys. Boys instinctively recognize and prize sincerity and authenticity. They know and appreciate when someone truly cares about their wellbeing and wants them to succeed.