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.