Tuesday, August 9, 2011
It Would be Easier if a Recipe Existed
As a teacher I often end up working with students who have a variety of emotional baggage. It's important to always remember that most of them have nothing to do with their baggage - they have simply inherited it. Sometimes the baggage is a loss of a parent, divorce, poverty, abuse, neglect, a criminal past, and much more.
With each of the previously mentioned negative influences, different styles and methods are necessary in order to help and work with the student. I recognize that I need to be compassionate and understanding, and I need to "pick my battles," and though I'm aware of how the rules often need to be bent or "weakly" enforced, I fear that my other students aren't quite mature enough to recognize how the process works. For example, if I have a student who has a troubled past, and I see him with his head down, I may be a little less strict on him then I would with another student. Though I know much more about that student than the others do, what they see is either a student "getting away with breaking the rules", or even worse, a student who is being ignored by the teacher.
They don't quite prepare you in college for these experiences. And even if they did, I don't think young college kids could really appreciate and fully comprehend what is being shared. It would be much easier if a recipe existed! A cup of compassion, 1/4 cup of discipline, 1/2 cup of understanding, a pinch of humor, a dash of mentoring - mix it all together, and you have the recipe for success. You and I both know such a recipe doesn't exist, and I suppose, even if it did, like any other recipe, it wouldn't always turn out the same!
So I guess for now I will just do my best and always error on swalling my pride. I think most of the time it is a teacher's pride that gets in the way and causes confusion. I will do my best to show that I care (by actually caring of course) and letting them know that they have value, and that they matter. I will be quick to listen, slow to anger, and slow to speak. Wish me luck!