During their years of schooling, students develop perceptions about learning and teaching, including the ways in which teachers impact on their learning experiences. This paper presents student perceptions of teacher pedagogy as interpreted from a study focusing on students' experience of Year 7 science. A single science class of 11 to 12 year old students and their teacher were monitored for the whole school year, employing participant observation, and interviews with focus groups of students, their teacher and other key members of the school. Analysis focused on how students perceived the role of the teacher's pedagogy in constructing a learning environment that they considered conducive to engagement with science learning. Two areas of the teacher's pedagogy are explored from the student perspective of how these affect their learning: instructional pedagogy and relational pedagogy. Instructional pedagogy captures the way the instructional dialogue developed by the teacher drew the students into the learning process and enabled them to “understand” science. How the teacher developed a relationship with the students is captured as relational pedagogy, where students said that they learned better when teachers were passionate in their approach to teaching, provided a supportive learning environment and made them feel comfortable. The ways in which the findings support the direction for the middle years and science education are considered.