Caring and teaching
Lee over at College Ready Writing has a post that I really relate to. She writes:
As far back as I can remember, if I’ve been teaching or coaching, they’ve been “my” kids….
This has continued on as I have taught and coached; I was the one nagging the college swimmers about their health, their eating, and often the one they confided in. It’s a lot harder now because I have more and bigger classes. There is also a distance that is implied in higher education a lot of the times between professor and student. But whenever and however I can, I get to know my students and find ways to let them know that I take their education seriously.
For me that caring has also been a part of my teaching. I really believe that I am teaching students, not ESL. They are human beings first and students second.
This morning I went to school to go with one of my students to talk to another of her instructors. She wanted the support and, if needed, the translating. We made it through that fine, and I hope we have found a solution to her problem. But what really matters to me is that she knows I care about her. She knows she can turn tome if she needs to and I will try to help.
When I taught in Louisiana I was constantly talking to students, listening to them. It was, I believe, part of what made the administration uneasy with me. But that is another story. It was important to me that the student had someone they could confide in, and I was willing to be that person if there was no one else.
This concern for my students is part of my official teaching philosophy. I am proud of it — although not everyone sees it as a virtue. But if we don’t care about our students, can we really teach them? I don’t think so.
Check out Lee’s post. It’s a good one.