Knowledge vs Relations

A teacher’s ability to relate well with students is more important than excellent knowledge of the subject being taught. (TOEFL essay question)

I’ve always thought that a teacher’s success is based on his/her high professional skills which means excellent knowledge of the subject. Judging from my own experience highly educated teachers are normally respected by both pupils and colleagues and the results of their teaching are obviously better.

Nevertheless, there exists a different point of view on good teaching which is a teacher’s ability to relate well with students. They say a teacher who is capable of motivating students and guiding them perfectly through the course can achieve higher results in teaching even though his/her knowledge of the subject is not very deep.

Is a teacher without excellent knowledge of the subject able to set a good example of what level a student should reach? It’s doubtful. Imagine you need a plumber to fix something in your kitchen. Would you choose a good-looking one or one with a proper tool kit? One that smiles at you pleasantly or a skillful one who does his job in no time? Your aim is to have your pipes fixed, isn’t it?

It goes without saying that every student would like to be taught by a highly qualified and understanding teacher. Absence of one of these qualities can lead to low motivation, misunderstanding, tension and sometimes even to depression on the side of a student. Why do we have to choose between these two qualities? They complement each other.

Studying is supposed to be great fun but at the same time one can’t do well in anything without hard work. A good teacher is the one who forges good relationships with students, who is clever, kind, understanding, creative and who is a real professional.

Therefore, we need to strive to have a balance between knowledge and ability to relate with students.

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