Teacher-Student Relationship: 3 Ways You Both Can Win

“When you are confused, it’s a blessing because in confusion a concept is being broken in your mind and a new concept is being formed. This is a sign of progress,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The spiritual master shares profound insights on students and teachers, and how they encounter stumbling blocks that are a natural, necessary part of the learning process.

Going back to school makes you realize all of the different types of teachers that are available to help you grow. If you’re a teacher, there are all kinds of preparations you must make to stay enthused and creatively engaged in your students’ development. Student-teacher relationships involve mutual admiration and the desire for each other to achieve and excel.

Here’s a video about teaching that discusses why teachers behave as they do. It will help teachers understand how to encourage learning effectively, how to recognize the teacher inside you, and how to reach your students in ways that will change their lives.

Great teachers have 3 qualities

In this talk by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, these 3 important qualities take a prominent place in making teachers great:

  1. Patience. A student may be a slow learner, but a teacher’s patience can turn the situation around. Good teachers must have a lot of patience.
  2. Understanding the students, where they come from, and how to guide them step by step. A good teacher understands that students’ confusion means that their concepts are breaking down. He doesn’t allow a student to hold on to one concept. One concept is like one step. But that has to break down for the student to rise to the next step. A teacher has to guide a student through confusion, and create confusion also, when it’s needed!
  3. Both loving kindness and strictness. You find teachers who are very loving, and then you find teachers who are very strict. Each of them separately can’t become good teachers. So you must have both qualities. I remember we had a history teacher, and she was very sweet so everybody loved to be in her class. The physics teacher was very strict, very tough, so everybody was scared of him, but everyone got high marks in his class. So you need to be tough and sweet, both, otherwise you won’t be able to guide the students where you want them to go.


Both want the other to win

In India, there’s a very beautiful but strange idea about student-teacher relationships. The guru says my disciple must win over me, and the disciple says the master must win. “Let guru win,” is the desire of a student, and the guru says “the disciple must win.” Both wish victory for the other; this is the healthiest situation. 

If a student argues with a teacher, then that arrogance has taken him way down. A student feels he knows more than the teacher; that means he hasn’t really learned. The arrogance kills his wisdom. A good student says, “If a teacher wins, that means joy and happiness for me.” 

A teacher always wants that a student should excel. Good teachers wish victory for the students, and the student believes that his teacher always wins. A teacher feels he has reached a certain height, but that his student must reach higher than him.