Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Students and Teachers

I ran across this study yesterday about teachers and how sometimes they let their personal feelings influence how they treat and grade particular students.
This is something that I’ve been thinking about lately.  While my oldest admittedly struggled a bit during the last school year academically she made leaps and bounds in getting back on track this year. She has however continued to struggle in one subject, science. 
Science was once her favorite subject interesting her greatly and instead is now her least favorite because it leaves her feeling frustrated, negative and worrisome.  Much of the problem, which my daughter has tried to tell me, is that her science teacher doesn’t like her.
For the longest time I dismissed her idea that her teacher doesn’t like her as just an excuse. I have always believed that the marks my children get are their responsibility and I have faith in teachers to always do their job to the best of their abilities without bias. If my child brings home work which is below my expectations of what they are capable of I normally look to them for the reason not the teacher.
I have however come to realize through a number of events and issues that in this particular case a lot of the problems she has been having are a direct or indirect result of the fact that, she is right, her teacher does not like her.  I don’t know why, nor does my daughter but I do now believe a negative personal opinion really is at the root of her problems in science.    
Teachers deserve a lot of respect and admiration for the job they do and let’s face it even more so for those teachers of students who are in those angst ridden teenage years.  I’ve always believed that there are better teachers than others and that my children will sometimes respond to one teacher or their teaching style more positively than others.  
Knowing that however I’ve always had faith that despite the occasional personality clash that a teacher will always have a student’s best interest at heart and that those personal feeling won’t affect grades either positively or negatively.
Perhaps that was na├»ve and I have come to realize, as this article also points out, that it isn’t always true.  Teachers are simply human after-all and prone to the same irrational feelings and bias as anyone else.  Some teachers do not allow their personal feelings to impact a student’s grades but there are also some that will. 

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