Compare and Contrast the relationship between the Students and their Teacher in “Students” and “Crow Lake.”
Both the poem “Students” by Tom Wayman and the short story “Crow Lake” by Mary Lawson highlight the challenges that teachers face with their students. While Wayman explores the generation gap between himself and the kids in his class, Lawson provides an anecdote of a lecture where she suddenly realizes that she is not cut out for teaching. From the two pieces we learn how important relationships can be when given the responsibility of teaching students.
Firstly, the autobiographical poem begins with the teacher being shocked at the age of the students: “Wayman was sure the computer was in error” (line 3). This reaction foreshadows the generation gap that makes it difficult for him to communicate with the teenagers in his class. Furthermore, when he says, “The wisdom of the students/ hadn’t altered, though,” (lines 9-10) we see that he respects the ability of the students; he just questions their motivations for learning. Wayman uses a series of metaphors like “The Vaccination Theory of Education,” and, “The Dipstick Theory,” to show how students learn in different ways. The tone of the lyric poem if slightly satirical but, from the ideas explored by the author, we start to appreciate the challenges that he faces coping with children from this generation.
Similar to Wayman, Lawson faces challenges with her University students. While Wayman remains positive and continues to battle against this gap, Lawson has an epiphany and realizes that she has been “boring” her students. While Wayman is an experienced teacher, Lawson is more of a research expert and, as she identifies, she finds, “it hard to relate to students” (p14). Lawson uses flashback to show her passion for nature and, as she realizes that the students have not had the same experience and that is why they are indifferent to her lesson, she realizes it is her fault that they are not engaged: “And now I was putting the entire class to sleep” (p16). Unlike Wayman, Lawson decides to leave the lecture hall and, we can assume, she makes a decision that will end her teaching career. By the end of the story Lawson has realized her limitations.
To conclude, both texts imply that it can be very difficult for teachers to relate to students. In a world where education is so important, we learn that the teacher has a responsibility to be creative and inspire students to learn rather than just assess them with a letter grade or drag them through material in a way that is very boring.