How to close the teacher-student relationship gap: new report

Students have a lot on their minds this school year, especially as the pandemic continues to impact our daily lives. And for us at Along, we know how important teacher relationships are when it comes to students’ overall social and emotional development, academic success, and engagement with the world. The research has told us this for years. So, we decided to ask students if they feel like their relationships with their teachers are helping them to feel seen and understood. 

For a new report by our parent organization, Gradient Learning, 1,031 students aged 13 and older were surveyed and we discovered that the creation of one-on-one student-teacher connections are essential for students to feel included, engaged, and motivated in school.

So, what did the report tell us? Here are the four key things we learned:

  1. Students “show up” more for class when they have strong relationships with their teachers. Of students surveyed who indicated that they have a strong relationship with a teacher in the classroom, 70% or more said that they pay attention or participate in class more and look forward to and enjoy class.
  2. Students of color are less likely to have strong teacher relationships. We found that in the past year, more students of color felt  they did not have a strong relationship with a teacher compared to white students. A total of 33% Asian Pacific Islander, 28% Hispanic, and 31% of mixed race students surveyed expressed this belief, while only 20% of white students did.
  3. Connecting with teachers is tough for students.  Why aren’t students reaching out to their teachers? The top reason provided (35%) is that it’s awkward or uncomfortable for them.
  4. With teachers in the driver’s seat, it’s a win-win for student-teacher connection. The report found that almost half of students (49%) would prefer to connect with a teacher individually, though nearly a third (31%) of students are not having these regular check-ins.

While the pandemic has emphasized the power of connectivity by way of devices like computers and tablets, this report indicates just how important it is to emphasize strong interpersonal connections for the benefit of our students. And, students are saying that they are seeking out a comfortable space to form these one-on-one relationships with their teachers in the classroom. However, we also know that teachers have limited time in their day to devote to forming such critical relationships. 

The great news is that we built Along to help facilitate these relationships, and it’s fast, it’s free, and it’s fun to use. Sign up and get started today

Our full survey report is available to read and download here.