|Above copied from KWCH12|
In a recent study, Rucinski and coworkers find that "Higher child-reported relationship quality with teachers predicted lower child-reported depressive symptoms in spring, controlling for fall levels." Students that do not have good relationships with their teachers, on the other hand, are more prone to conflict, agression, and poorer performance in English Language Arts, but not in Mathematics. This study includes more than 500 3rd to 5th grade students and 35 teachers.
When examining how a teacher factors in academic outcomes, it is important to keep in mind that so many factors play important roles in a student's learning. There is, of course, the huge influence of socio-economic status. There are also known correlations with gender and race. For elementary school children, the quality of preschool education also matters. Nonetheless, the study by Rucinski et al. finds that there is a connection, although weak, between a teacher-student relationship and social-emotional as well as academic outcomes. And this study is especially unique as it extracts the specific contribution of the individual relationship a student has with his or her teacher, apart from the general climate of a school. And as Wichita, Kansas schoolteacher Ms. Jerusha Willenborg demonstrates, it is important to have a "personal handshake" with each of her students.