What Message Do You Send?

Sitting at dinner tonight I listened to my daughter and her friend discuss how much they felt a couple of their teachers hated them. Well, not so much anymore they felt, they don’t yell as them quite as much these days and don’t single them out for things they were never doing in the first place. They offered up specific examples of what they were talking about and laughed them off thankful this school year was just about over. While listening to this conversation I began wondering if any of my students had ever had this conversation while having dinner with their parents. I certainly hope not. I hope the conversations that involve a child’s time in my classroom include the words like support, community, challenge, engaging, maybe even cool or awesome. And, I hope it would be the idea that school is almost over that would bring the feeling of disappointment. Isn’t that what working with students is supposed to be all about? Lighting the fire within them to become life long learners. Not to light the fire under them to be compliant. I want my kids walking out of the door of my classroom everyday with a spring in their step and a smile on their face, facing the world with new confidence because of something they’ve attempted, accomplished, or felt successful about while spending time with me. To me, that is what makes the difference between teaching being a thankless job and being thankful for being a teacher. Do I think my daughter’s teachers “hate” her in the same sense my daughter perceives them to hate her? No. But, I do think as teachers we need to be mindful of the way we interact with our students and the message we want them leaving our classroom with.

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