In a recent opinion piece for the Washington Post, Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross and a former high school teacher, emphasized a key element that has been missing from U.S. education policy debates—a teacher’s priority to build a relationship with students.
“What policy elites ignore is the fact that for many young people, the thing that matters most in the classroom is simply that teachers treat them with dignity and respect—that their teachers see them as human beings and model the kinds of behavior that we want all adults to engage in,” wrote Schneider.
Schneider recognized that his strong academic background certainly contributed to giving students a challenging curriculum and thoughtful assessments, but he more importantly understood how the compassionate connections that he fostered with his students are what they remember most.
He reflected back on his own education experiences, commenting on the memories that persisted even now as an adult. “I remember my eleventh-grade English teacher, who consistently tore my writing apart until I improved; and with her help I did improve. But I also remember a Spanish teacher who visited my father in the hospital, a fourth-grade teacher who hugged me once when I was on the verge of tears, a math teacher who told me that she believed in me, and a history teacher I wanted to emulate.”
This “Holy Cross in the News” item by Sara Bovat ’14.