Friday, 9 March 2012

Relationships in the Classroom

This week was a "full moon" week at school. This phenomenon, added to it being the week before March Break, when progress reports and IEP's were due for teachers and tests and assignments due for students, made for a rather stressful environment.
So what about establishing relationships? How important is it? I think it’s probably THE most important aspect of teaching. So, this week when a teacher was having an issue with a student and came to me to ask about him, I told her I’d speak to him. When I did, I discovered that he couldn’t stand the class or the teacher. He couldn’t drop the course; there wasn’t another teacher teaching the course – what to do? He was game for a ‘fireside chat’ between them, with me as ‘hostess’. I have to admit I was shocked when the teacher was not so enthusiastic about such a conversation. I had to ask myself – why? Why didn’t she want to repair the relationship? Why didn’t she want to model grown up behavior – when something or someone bothers you, or you perceive an offense, confront it head on. At least then you know why and can act/react from an informed perspective. Besides the obvious, immediate questions that come to mind, such as: what IS she doing in class? Is her dislike of this student undeniable and overt? I’m asking myself – why doesn’t she see this as important? And she stated that it isn’t important to her. It was very revelatory to me. I think maybe I’m arrogant – every teacher thinks relationships are important, right? There IS no other way to think, right? Clearly, I’m narrow-minded here. So, although she did acquiesce, and DID have the conversation with the student, she didn’t believe it was necessary or important. She felt she was ‘coddling’ him. I was saddened. During this conversation, she told him he was a leader in the class; that he was doing well; that he was a ‘star’ and she counted on him to be an example to others. Although she told me she was  merely ‘acting’ sincere.
Okay so – now I’m wondering if this might make a difference in her professional life. She came to me and told me that the next class, after the convo, the student was busy helping others to do their work, going ‘above and beyond’. HE made the effort, she noticed and attributed it to the talk ….maybe she’ll change her mind for the future? I sure hope so!

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