Caveat: On teaching and emotion

One of my coworkers was reduced to tears, yesterday, by the academic intransigence of one of her students, who is also a student I know well. He has appeared several times in the blog, though typically I don't always name my students here, or if I do, I name them inconsistently, which protects their identity. 

I like this student, but I understand my coworker's frustration too. He is almost unteachable, at least in a conventional sense. Stubborn and unmotivated, and somehow both smart but incapable of remembering what seem like elementary bits of information. The other day he asked me how to spell "Karma" – the name of our academy and something you'd expect a 2-years-plus student to have mastered. 

I was trying to reassure my coworker, who was suffering quite a bit of embarrassment about her overly emotional response. Finally, somewhat unintentionally, I stumbled on a bit a feedback that I'm willing to stand by: I told her that the fact that she was reduced to tears is not an embarrassment but rather a sign that she is a teacher to be respected, as it indicates she genuinely cares about what she is trying to do. I added that there has been more than one teacher who has passed through Karma who would never have reacted to a student in such a way, but that perhaps that only signifies that they were less interested in the results they are able to achieve. 

I suppose this anecdote doesn't have much of a deeper purpose, except just to share that I think teachers should be emotionally invested in their students, even if that makes for rough going sometimes. I have argued with Curt and others about this – sometimes I feel like he only wants robots teaching. I understand that view point – as a manager of an education business, he wants replicable and scalable results, not emotional individuals. Nevertheless, I think there can be ways to allow both.

[daily log: walking, 6.5km]

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