After Church today I was telling a group a rather comical account about a person who clearly does not like me and enjoys finding trivial and often rather silly ways to express this!
We were talking about how surprised we often feel when we realise someone genuinely does not like us and then the tone of the conversation abruptly changed. A friend, (a very confident capable and intelligent woman,) told us she had excelled in English at school. This was a source of deep enjoyment and satisfaction and she expected to do well in upper secondary school with English. Unfortunately, during her final school years, she had a new English teacher who consistently failed her assignments and exams with very little helpful feedback. Eventually, the disillusioned and disappointed student decided not to choose English as a graduation subject and yet it had been her passion and strength. This teacher wore her confidence down and left her convinced she had no ability in English.
My friend went on to have a long and distinguished career in a different subject area which she very much enjoyed. She told us it was only recently she had realised this English teacher really did not like her and now perceived what a massive impact this had on her life.
I felt sad but this further reinforced a great truth I am forever weaving into my training. Our attitudes towards our students have HUGE impacts – far beyond that of choosing a quality teaching program.
We must be nurturing and helpful for all our students – not just the ones we particularly like. We should all be respectful and kind to all of them, regardless of our personal feelings. I honestly believe that if we cannot do this, we need to take a break or change career directions. We leave large footprints on our students’ hearts and minds – let’s ensure we nurture and build confidence.
Our students of all ages deserve nothing less than this!