Daily Archives: January 22, 2014

The Learner-Teacher Relationship

A continuation of True, But Useless.

Bobby’s story is not unique.  The fact that he got along with one teacher better than the others happens all the time.  We all have our favorites, our least favorites, and those we can hardly remember their names.

As my old mentor used to tell me, “10% of the kids I had loved me as teacher.  10% hated me.  The other 80% . . . I was just another teacher.”  In a profession that isolates its practitioners, where we have little time to interact or collaborate, it is hard to hold onto this statement, be confident in our abilities, and also open to support from others.  I am most impressed with the teachers who accepted the counselor’s support.  Who understood that his objective was not meant to diminish them in favor of the one teacher that Bobby did like, but to share the idiosyncrasy of a particular kid, and how it matched the practices of a specific teacher.

At this point, to all the non-teachers out there, I want you to think about your favorite teacher or teachers.  I would encourage you to think about how you view the other kids in that class.  You loved that teacher and because you did, you also make that assumption for everyone else in the class.  The same can be true of the ones you loathed.  You hated that teacher, your friends may have hated that teacher, so you assume that everyone did.  I challenge you to give that assumption a second look.  Is it possible that another student, with different priorities, dreams, and interests may have liked your most loathed teacher or who may have loathed your most beloved teacher?