Teachers not only play a pivotal role in developing students’ knowledge and skills but also can serve as role models, which may be particularly beneficial for youth of color and children of immigrants. However, it is unknown whether relationships vary across student racial/ethnic and generational groups. Moreover, the link between teacher-student relationships and students’ academic expectations remains unclear. Using the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, a nationally representative sample of high schoolers, I found that not all groups of students enjoy strong teacher-student relationships: English teachers report weaker relationships with Asian American students and mathematics teachers with their Latino students compared with third-generation white students. These relationships are important predictors of student expectations. Results highlight the importance of teacher-student relationships and suggest that certain racial/ethnic and generational groups are missing out on this form of social capital.
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