Friday, August 24, 2012

Student-centered is NOT anti-teacher

Before we get into the meat of this post, I want to come to a mutual understanding.  In a perfect world, all teachers love their students, are only concerned with their well-being, and work in the teens of hours/day to do a great job.

That is in the perfect world.

The reality is that both you and I have worked with teachers who are NOT those things.  They complain endlessly about every discomfort of the job.  They are much more ready to say negative things about their students.  When holidays approach, they are shouting praise and glory form the rooftops (or on their Facebook pages).

Of course, they will also say that they are blowing off steam and never take that attitude into the classroom.

Yea, right.  Kids are very perceptive and, eventually, true colors are revealed.

Also based on my experience, this description is applicable to a very small population of teachers.  The vast majority of those I have met are anything BUT what I describe above.  However, education is more of a team sport than most would believe and even a small number of naysayers can undo or derail the efforts of a larger group of well-meaning teachers.

Think about it.

If every negative thing you say in a relationship takes at least five (and sometimes up to 20) positive things to undo the damage of the one negative, you can possibly assume that for every one teacher who "doesn't get it" you may need from 5 - 20 teachers "cut from a different cloth" to counter-act the negative.  This too presents an issue because negative teachers are not lone wolves.  They find another like them and feed off of each other's negativity.  Negative teachers travel in packs.  So, now you need twice as many positive teachers than before.

The purpose of this somewhat extensive set-up is to throw out the observation that teachers who are often quick to shoot down any new idea about how to help students are also the ones who are among the more negative.  Instead of being inquisitive, entrepreneurial, or collaborative; these teachers view new ideas for being more student-centered as an attack on them.  They confuse innovative student-centered ideas with promoting an anti-teacher agenda.

When the door to productive discourse and conversation is closed, all communication begins to appear confrontational.  As the 2012-2013 school year begins, let us keep in mind that we may always agree with everything we hear, but let us also not confuse student-centered with anti-teacher.  Keep the door open, protect a forum to discuss ideas without fear of ridicule, ask questions, seek clarification, try something new, value informed opinions, and share what you know with others in a way that moves your essential conversation forward.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...