Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Teacher judgments and Jackets

I saw some great teaching this week. I saw a great deal of good in urban education despite the media's pervasive negative connotations. I also do have to say that on Day Two in a couple classrooms I witnessed teachers that seemed slightly impatient or easily exasperated with students and had to wonder why. I found myself disenchanted with them at first and thinking that they should be more positive, treating the students differently and approaching the task at hand with more vim. I certainly had to stop myself and realize that there could be a number of factors that influenced their behavior, which might not be the regular occurrence at all. A long tiring day, a tragedy in the family, disrupted sleep, conflict in relationships, problem upon problem with students, physical pain or discomfort - the possibilities are endless...and we all have experienced these in life at some point and time, haven't we? But to try not to reserve quick judgment can be quite difficult as I think we tend to make split second judgments on a daily basis, but I think it is a NECESSITY for a future teacher not to judge others.

If we judge other teachers like that, we will just as easily judge our students. And we cannot take that dive, especially not knowing or understanding their story.

Appearance is a huge factor in our judgment - and come on, the adage "appearances can be deceiving" does have some truth to it. But appearance can also be a transforming factor. Like in jackets.

We were fortunate enough to have student-led tours at many of our school visits. Some of these students were dressed in a chosen colour of more formal attire. A burgundy jacket and skirt or classy slacks and a navy blue blazer. Should we judge the students differently seeing them dressed like this? It's not the judgment but the outcome of an experience that was so neat in this given opportunity.

The students were given the chance to feel valuable, to prepare, take on responsibility, to be leaders, and were performing a service. We, the visitors, had the opportunity to be taught by students in this way and to get more of an inside look as a result.


Haitian Cookie822 said...

Teacher judgements- It is true when we see a teacher discipling a student, we wonder " I wonder what's going on?" Teachers are human and we as society have to understand that, also; however there are teachers who bring their personal life into the classroom and sometimes can take a small problem and exaggerated to a big problem. I guess most of us have an insight of what a teacher is suppose to act in the classroom, but no one is perfect.
Jackets: Attending School M (school in which I attending), I felt the school has prepared the children for the real world. For example, taking leadership in the schools. I remember when I was in school, I never had the experience to show my true leadership. Honestly, it began when I started college, when I became more involved. Lets keep going and continue to grow our students' future.

Ryan McGuirk said...

I have to disagree about it being a necessity for teachers not to judge others. To the contrary, I think it is a necessity for teachers to judge, but to judge intelligently. When we talk about critical thinking, we are talking about judgmental thinking. Critical shares the same root as crises, and both words imply that a judgment must be made. The key here is the criteria upon which we should make our judgments, and you're right, dress probably does not make a good criterion, nor does a single classroom instance.

Lucrative Thoughts said...

I like the idea of a that students have a similar attire for the entire school. This makes competition almost obsolete for the students who are involved in having the latest fashion. It also creates some sort of unity and professionalism within the school. Still, money is an issue. How will parents pay for these uniforms? We must also take into concideration tht the students will find ways to make uniqueness in conformity. Meaning, students will find a way to personalize the uniforms and create the cycle that they were trying to remove. I might be wrong in saying this, but then again I haven't experienced uniforms personally.

Abbey said...

I also noticed some teachers being very patient and calm and others being very strict almost seeming harsh. I thought that was more of a difference in style and personality or maybe it was the way certain teachers have figured out works best for different groups of students. I agree that we can't judge them without knowing more but I definitely realized which classroom I would prefer if I were the student!

UrbanEveEdublogg said...

haitian cookie - Leadership preparation is a great thing to do for a child in getting them ready for the real world and society - and that is part of what we're supposed to be doing in education, right? I definitely agree with leadership, and yes, the jackets and the roles the students were given at the school gave them an opportunity to develop that!

ryan - Thinking critically to make important judgements when confronted with a situation in which you need to make those judgements is certainly a must. But is judging someone for their behaviour, clothing or action? I think this is taking our assumptions with us and claiming to know where someone is coming from when we do not.

lucrative thoughts - I wasn't discussing the premise of uniforms but I suppose taking a closer look at the meaning of the professional clothing that the students leading the school tours were wearing. Though I do agree with several of your points about uniforms, I also think they take away from individuality and give a feeling of "robotic" despite a feeling of unity.

abbey - I know what you mean by the stylistic differences, but more than that what I saw in one classroom was a general negativity not just a different teaching style. I felt like I was seeing a teacher that didn't really want to be there or was exasperated with life.