Feelings Don’t Lie!

Kids dont learn from people they dont like!- Rita Pierson

The teacher-student relationship is an incredibly delicate balance that vacillates during the year.  Many factors can change the way a teacher feels about her students and the way a student feels about his/her teacher.  Although all of this is true, there are many ways to avoid the inevitable disconnect.  Show your students that they matter. 
The quote above really resonates with me because I dont have a poker face.  Many times my emotions show up all over my face, whether I want them there or not.  It can, at times, be my fatal flaw.  However, one thing that Ive learned, with children, is that they are more perceptive than most adults.
In a high school English course, I was addressing an issue with the students and I sincerely said, Im not upset, but!   One of the students interjected right in the middle of my statement. 
He said, You always say that, but you really are upset by what we are doing.  He was right.  It was at that point that I stopped telling my students one thing, but thinking something else.  It is okay for them to know that you are disappointed, pleased or even satisfied with their actions.  Whats not okay is the alternative.  Students dont like what they cant trust.  So in turn, if my students dont trust me, then they cant really like me.  They dont know what Im thinking or if I am going to tell them the truth when it counts. The term for this is shady.   
I want my kids to learn from me, so I am honest with them about how I feel.  It may not make them happy, but it will help them trust me and that will allow them to open up and learn.  I am not implying that you should give them feedback in the most unfiltered ways, but I am suggesting that you give them true feedback. 
Ill leave you with this.  A few years ago, one of my high school juniors came to me after a summer of having me for English and she said, I really like the fact that you were honest with me when you didnt like my behavior, but that didnt change the way that you graded my work. You were always fair.

Be honest with your kids, but dont let that change your teacher-student dynamic.  Ive learned, and am still learning, that delivery is everything.  

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