Friday, May 14, 2010

Being a teacher

A few days ago, I posted this on Facebook,

"Teacher thought for the day..... If I grew up exactly like my student did, with the same advantages and disadvantages, the same parents, the same life, I would act the same way they do. Sure, as we get older, we can choose the person we want to be. But, until we are 'done' we are a product of our environment and experiences. So, show some extra patience and love to one who seems unlovable..."

This is a thought that I believe to my very core. It is something I have said for a long time. It seems so many times that teachers are angry at students for their behavior, and that is understandable, but because their behavior is based on the path they have been on, we need to try to find ways to invite them to a different path.

Don't get me wrong with anything I have posted on this blog, I am all too human and I slip a LOT into anger and frustration when working with kids. However, I always try to understand where the child is coming from. A few years ago, I led a group in my school called the Student Assistance Team. I met and interacted with a lot of parents and their children and the overwhelming thing I learned was that the child is too often a reflection of what they have lived with (which can be positive or negative).

So having said all that (and I do tend to go on), what difference does it make? I believe that good teachers try to reach these students where they are and try to lift them to a better place. Not by making excuses, but by seeing where they are and shifting what we do as teachers. 

One thing I say a lot in my life as a teacher is "try to see the child and not just their behavior." In fact, I would like that to be what is said about me when I retire from this profession (in a long time). I can think of no better way to describe what I have tried to do. Again, I have failed many times, but I believe kids are 'not done yet' and there is always hope.

On my computer at school, along with pictures of some of the people I love, I have this quote, "Together, we will journey beyond the darkness. The star of hope will guide the way." Gerda Weissman Klein From the final screen in the movie "Wings of Epoh".

This blog post is for you PR!