Think back to your own high school and junior college days and recollect the teachers who had the greatest impact on your life. My hunch is that the relationship with these significant teachers was nourishing and probably provided sustained encouragement well into your adult years.
It's the relationship we remember more than the curriculum. A few days ago, I received an email from a recent grad grappling with universal questions of meaning. She must have enrolled in a philosophy course. Maybe they were studying Nietzsche? Whatever was happening in her life, she was, in her words, "thinking about death and feeling bad about it". So she reached out to me in an email.
Philosophy for Teens 2011
I have many answers and no answers for my student who looked to me for guidance. I answered her questions, shared my own experiences and suggested several books for her. But her instinct to reach out to her teacher and share her intimate questions about the world and her life to me, is better than gold. This is the great beauty of teaching and learning; the relationship is the power that fuels both. Relationships, not the curriculum, are what we remember about our schooling. As teachers, we need to remember that when we rush to finish the unit, the book and the course.