Ever wonder why there are some classes students love to go to and others that are on par with going to get a tooth extracted? There are some teachers that would say the "easier" classes are the more popular because students do not need to work as hard in them and, thus, the class is popular. While I agree that there are always a small number of students who will seek the "path of least resistance," I disagree with the assumption that the ease of work is the determining factor for most students.
As I reflect on my work as a school administrator, the vast majority of difficult class situations are not based on work, but the lack of connection between teacher and students. I rarely hear about a class being "too hard." On the other hand, comments like the ones below have been frequently used by students to express their displeasure with a class.
"She doesn't listen to us."
"I am afraid to ask him a question."
"I do not understand what she is trying to teach us."
"I don't get him."
"She doesn't llike me."
These are ALL relationship based comments. They tell me that students desire to learn AND to make connections with their teachers. Students want to feel like they are part of something special and to create that environment takes an investment by the teacher to build those relationships.