Thursday, April 23, 2009

Students Teachers Don't Like Very Well

Elephant exhibit by Banksy

Maybe not a "joyful" topic, but it is true. Teachers can dislike their students. Teachers are people, students are people and people aren't always going to get along. It is a topic I have presented on several times (at educational conferences) and have been asked to write a book about. The publisher I am beginning to work with calls it the proverbial elephant in the classroom. I love the orange elephant above. It matches the coloration on the walls...we hope it will blend in, we don't want to talk about it but, it's RIGHT THERE! I recently developed a brief little survey and sent it out to a number of my adult friends/colleagues asking them to recollect a time when they felt disliked or favored by their teachers. I received several responses within minutes after I sent out the e-mail....this topic always seems to hit a raw nerve. One of my friends wrote that when she was in 3rd grade she was so fearful of her "screaming, belittling" teacher that she stayed out of school frequently and she noted, "the negative vibe really shut my brain down." The result was that at the end of 3rd grade she was essential a non-reader. Her4th grade teacher, thank the heavens, was one of her favorite teachers of all time, providing a calm, happy, warm and accepting environment, the antitheses of her previous year. Suddenly, in the 4th grade (!) she read her first chapter book. My friend went on, "I don't remember learning to read. I just remember all of a sudden I could (due to the lack of stress) 6th grade I was in an advanced class for reading." We need to address the elephant!

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