Friday, December 2, 2011

Year 2: Week 13 – To Be Liked

I’m not going to deny that I enjoy the fact that many of my students like me, but that’s really not the point of what I do.

It’s interesting. When I think back on the teachers who had the most impact on me some of them I liked a lot but some of them I didn’t. What was consistent was the fact that I respected their knowledge, their skill as a teacher and the fact that they respected me.

What teachers provide for students is not some kind of celebrity or idol, but rather a person who helps guide them and we often do not guide them in ways that they would like. No teenager is ever going to thank a teacher for providing them with structure and guidance but students often get frustrated with teachers who do not do this.

We work so hard for students and it gets frustrating sometimes when students express dislike about us. While these words can be pointed its important to keep in mind that they aren’t talking about us as people but as teachers.

Have you ever noticed when a student sees you outside of the school building they get kind of freaked out like they don’t expect that you could possibly exist outside of the school building? Even though you spend all this time getting to know your students, caring about them, working so that they can learn and be successful they do none of these things for you and in this way, this relationship when at its best really is not about being a friend or being liked.

I remember when I first started teaching I worried that I would teach students that I didn’t like. If I were to say that I liked all of my students equally that would be a lie. Remember, even though I’m a teacher, I’m human. But I’m very cautious about these feelings and for the kids I don’t connect immediately with I make a conscious effort to work with so that my feelings about certain kids don’t get in the way of me serving other students.  That being said, I have grown to care about all of my students no matter how they have treated me, because I simply choose to.

This is a hard thing to do especially when there are students who express disdain for you as a teachers but what’s important to keep in mind is that the fact that you have students who don’t like you mean that you are doing your job. Also, kids who seem to like you, don’t actually like you as a person so much the image of you as a teacher.

I can honestly say that I love it when my students are excited to see me in the hallways and want to tell me about their day. These kinds of interactions do help motivate me as a teacher but I can’t rely on them, because I know that they may dislike me in a minute when I give them a bad grade.  You have to be willing to give up any positive feelings they have for you to provide them with what they need.

Knowing that you did what was right for your students even if it means that they dislike you as a teacher may not make you smile but its the proof you need at the end of the day to know that you truly are a teacher.  

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