Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Secret Life of Teachers

This year Maia has an English teacher for whom there are no second chances.

Maia is now trying to improve her grade after failing to turn in a packet on its due date. Ms. English Teacher accepts no late work, and Maia hadn't yet learned that she should turn in all of the work she had done, even if a piece of it was still incomplete. Yes, I know, learning the system is one of the educational process of school. Some lessons just come harder than others...

So yesterday, Maia decided to stop by to show Ms. English Teacher her progress on another big project just to make sure she was meeting her expectations. Ms. English Teacher gave her work a fairly perfunctory glance, told her to shorten a paragraph and handed it back.

Maia left feeling as though her teacher were more dismissive than helpful. To explain Maia said, "maybe secretly inside she doesn't want to be a teacher."

Granted this is a big assumption on Maia's part, despite the fact that Ms. English Teacher's reputation proceeded her. But right or wrong, it was a huge reminder to me about the kind of message I want to send to the students I encounter each day. Am I happy to be there? Do I want to connect with them? Do they see that I'm on their side? It seems to me impossible to teach if your students think "secretly, I don't think she wants to be a teacher."

For Maia, she's going to have to figure out how to learn whatever the attitude of the teacher is.

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