The student teacher relationship is based on trust and respect. It is a teacher's job to create an atmosphere of trust and respect in the classroom. For this the teacher should make sure that:
|The students know that the teacher is there to help them learn the subject and to help them get good grades (the importance of learning the subject may not be apparent to everyone but everyone loves good grades). For this the teacher should be friendly, open and at the same time clear about what he expects.|
|They should feel that the teacher knows the subject he is there to teach. This calls for going to class well prepared. In my opinion even the homework assignments should be well thought out and so chosen that they enhance the students' understanding of the subject.|
|The students know that the teacher is fair. For this a weekly quiz may be arranged which includes important yet simple problems. In grading these quizzes the teacher should point out the errors and give partial credit when a student gets a part of a problem right. (The teacher should point out to the students that these problems are about points that should be at their fingertips. It has always helped to let them redo their quizzes.) Students trained by those quizzes would inevitably do better in other tests. At higher levels, if the number of students is small, the students may be assigned projects in place of quizzes.|
|The students know that the teacher is preparing them for better performance in future courses. The nature of Mathematics is such that a number of future courses depend on what the students learn today. So the teacher should mention the subjects where this knowledge will apply. If it is a graduate level course the teacher should allude to the fields of research where the techniques of the current course apply.|
|The students know that the teacher cares about their performance. For this the teacher should show appreciation for those who perform well and find time for those who lag behind. The teacher should see to it that the students know about Mathlabs and other help centers.|
This much about what the students should know. Here is what they may not be told but a teacher should keep in mind. The most important job of a teacher is to train the student to read and think independently. This is hard but not impossible. I normally give them reading assignments which, at lower levels, are nothing but "read and copy" in the beginning and then "read and solve a given problem".