May 13, 2008

who should be a teacher?

I was in a conversation in another forum the other day, and was told by somebody not in education that I need to find another career.


Because education is not about relating to students as individuals. It is not about being a "social worker" as this person put it. It is not even about caring about students. It is simply putting information in children's brains.

As much as I know better, this comment is getting to me. Maybe it'sbecause I've had such a rough year and have fantasized about leaving my school, or even teaching for a while. But how can somebody even hope that their students will really LEARN if you don't care about them at all?

I know as an adult, I still really care if a presenter or an administrator relates to me in some way. How much more important is that relationship to a child? One of my comments that this person was reacting to was about a former student of mine who broke down after a school dance. Her step-father was late picking her up, and she was hysterical, because her mother was dying of a brain tumor and she was positive that she had died during the dance and that was why he was late picking her up. The fact that I cared, or that I held her and comforted her is why I am in the wrong profession. The fact that rather than teaching one September day not too many years ago, I passed around kleenex boxes and lied to students through my teeth telling them their father the pilot was fine, and the world wasn't ending tells this person that I have chosen the wrong career. Because, how can they learn if I'm so busy caring that I never teach?

But tell me, how can an adult going through a situation like that hope to perform at his/her optimum? Would it not be advantageous for a manager to take that into consideration when observing the quality of work produced? Or are weall supposed to be automatons whose personal lives have no impact onour professional lives?

And what happens to the children who have noone to care at home or at school? I doubt they learn much in their classes, but what really happens to them? I'm fairly sure a few of them end up being taught by my husband (at a detention center) or self-destructing in their own ways.

I teach Spanish, yes. But more than that, I teach people. And that means all the inconsistencies and vagueries that come with dealing with 120 adolescents 240 parents and 60+ other adults in some way or other every day. And, oddly enough, my kids still seem to come out of my classes having learned some Spanish by the end of the day.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you about teaching and part of the role of teachers. Although I work in higher ed, a teacher is still more than just an information imparter for these youngsters. To some degree, we're role models, counsellors, stand-in parents etc. I don't like class teaching, but I do love the student support, contact and real PEOPLE side of the work I do.


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