Friday 23 September 2011

Teacher talk

Where do I begin . . .

There are so many intricate things that make up a significant part of a teacher's life. I thought I would record some of them here.

A teacher is supposed to be impartial and give equal status to all her/his students. I agree. But I also cannot disagree that there is this one student whom the teacher likes. The reasons may be varied - a helpful attitude, an ever-present dimpled smile, a thoughtful mind and many more. But the catch is that the teacher should never single out that student. Afterall, the teacher is someone who respects every student for what he or she is. Therefore that special student brings a smile to the teacher but is never singled out for any sort of preference.

Some students' attitude and behaviour is very similar to the teacher in many aspects. This kindred behaviour brings an enthusiasm to the teacher but the teacher has to supress those feelings and go on.

Certain students are cleverer than the teacher in terms of analytical thinking. Eventhough, the teacher might not admit that in the class, the teacher is quite in awe of that particular student. The teacher should also be able to maintain the levels of appreciation, in case the other students might fell inadequete.

Laziness and refusal to work can be tolerated to a certain extent but if that is the usual mode, then I just cannot help but be highly sarcastic and irritable. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain a demeanour which oozes patience, kindness and positivity.

I am a graphical person, which is translated as I can imagine doing gory things to students sometimes when they tend to rattle my nerves. Let me demonstrate this trait: If a student gives absolutely out-of-the world stupid answers, I would like to lift that student (in my mind, of course) physically and throw him/her outside the window. When the student sits still inspite of my 'performance' in class, I would definitely feel like shaking that student hard in such a way that I could hear his/her bones rattle. Well, obviously I cannot do such things but sometimes I do tend to act that out much to the amusement of my students.

It is interesting to observe students when they are in love. The student sometimes cannot balance his thoughts. At those times, the teacher admires the state of the student but also knows that being in that state forever is not advisable, hence . . .

Do you feel the same? Do you have any other similar feelings/instances to share with us?

Image: Internet


  1. What interesting observations Susan Deborah! I imagine that many of these feelings would be difficult to contain but as you say, a teacher must try. :) I had to smile about your examples of wishing you could throw them out a window or shake them.:) I am not a teacher but have worked as an assistant in a pre school and have to admit that there were children that naturally, one feels a special liking for but it's exactly as you say, it must never show and the other students should never guess. It's so important to show all the students the same care and kindness, isn't it? I imagine you are a very good teacher!

    Much love from Norway this cold morning!:)

  2. Teachers, after all, are human beings. We do have our preferences and we connect with certain personalities. But I'm with you in not singling anyone out, whether they're teacher's pet or the opposite.

    Clever or outspoken students also pose a challenge to a teacher. It takes will power to allow more reticent or "slower" students into the discussion. Most times, it saves time and energy to just rely on the smart ones to get the point across. Class discussion is really a balancing act. I remember once, a student commended me in the teacher's evaluation for giving airtime to everyone in class by calling on people rather than wait for certain students to give the answer.

    It's just funny, Mrs Sus, to imagine you throwing a student out the window, haha! I've never thought of doing that, although there are times I get to raise my voice to someone who gets to my nerve. The hardest part is having a spaced-out class. You never know if you're going through to them. It's then that I feel I've failed as a teacher. But when they still remember and greet you after the term, I feel I've a difference somehow.

    Ok, this is already a mouthful. Thanks for the insights, Mrs. Sus. We have much to talk about when we finally meet in person. :)

  3. Hi Susan .. what you say makes so much sense .. and it must be really difficult for a teacher, who knows that a student has a crush on them .. I know I did at school - just enjoyed their teaching (geography) and the sport, which I was reasonably good .. but not much else!

    There's a new programme here on a school in Essex secondary school .. going up to age 16 exams .. and the teachers are incredible, awe inspiring .. it's a Channel 4 film .. "Educating Essex" - I guess it'll get out into the web at sometime .. it was really interesting - I thought I'd be completely put off ... but I was totally drawn in - I'll have to watch next week's episode!

    Good luck with everything .. cheers Hilary

  4. I am not a teacher, but am a mother of two kids. And, I really do not interfere with a teachers way of correcting, disciplining the kids. You are all trained better and teaching is a very noble profession.Keep up the good work.

  5. Dear Susan, I am sure you are a great teacher.;)
    I too teach students at times, but only short introduction courses in the lab. I too have noticed what you describe here, some students I just simply get along with better as they are "on the same frequency" as I am.
    I never experienced the feeling of wanting to throw a student out of the window, hehe, but similar thoughts go through my head when I drive.;) I usually feel like beating up all those obnoxious drivers up, hehe.;))
    Have a great weekend my friend and thanks for your comments full of compliments on FB.;))

  6. Well, being a student of yours at peresent its a bit tricky to comment on this post ma'am. I sometimes imagine myself being a teacher and never wanted to become one.t And today's task in class( correcting the essays of random students) made my decision even more stronger. :D

    Well, it must be a really proud thing to be a teacher though. :)

    Loving you as always...

  7. i understand you...when i used to teach it was at a treatment center...all the ones too extreme for regular was like herding cats some to see the light in their eyes when they get it though...

  8. Kinda like being all things to the student. Not a job I would be able to handle. I notice some of this in my grandson who is 12, born with out a lick of common sense.That is one of the most irritating traits I have ever dealt with. I have no idea how you do it. I admire all teachers.

  9. Your post has brought back memories memories memories, dear Susan. I can't help but remember experiencing many of those moments you talk about.

    Yes, I did have my favorites, though I never gave! And yes, I did have those students I could have done without, but... for some reason... they always held a special place in my heart. For some strange reason, the more challenging they were, the more I cared for them. I don't understand why... I probably never will.

    Oh, I miss it... but I don't. ;-)

    Thanks for an engaging post, Susan!


  10. Susan Deborah, where were you when I was in the early grades--through high school? Oh--You were NOT BORN YET???

    Your 'teacher advice' is applicable to almost every situation in my life's dealing with Peeps. Thank you, India-Girl!
    Peace forever...soon!

  11. My dear friend,
    I am not sure what age your students are, but I guess they must be adolescents- if they are in love,etc. But of course they might fall in love at any age.

    My students nowadays are mostly adults- from 16 to 80 (?).
    And I have all kind of experiences, people who want to be funny and are not- people who do not understand and keep asking the same silly question until I lose my patience, and people who are too good to be taught...

    Sometimes I think I am lucky for having a job which gives me so many chances to get to the people's intelects,hearts souls-

    ah all I've learnt and keep learning about this beautiful profession!!!

    Other times I feel as if it were Sunday (hey It's Sunday!) So having to go back to school tomorrow is not always a pleasure-I could tell you so many anecdotes and feelings about it-
    and them I love my job again.

    I can only be grateful.
    Where did I go?
    Did I answer your question?
    I hope so

    Thanks Susan
    JOY always :-)

  12. As a teacher myself I can relate... there are moments when I feel that students want to be spoon fed and held by the hand... something which can irritate me as theses are adults!...
    This brought a smile...

  13. Susan,this is an interesting post. Being a student, sometimes when the teacher has a thing for one particular student, i am agitated. the thing is, teachers find it difficult to hide the affection. but it is also difficult to be that favourite student. some students dont mind this phenomenon because then the array of questions would not hurt them, enquiring eyes wont meet them..thanks to the student favourite.

    i feel that it is important for a teacher to let the students know that they are loved, that you care for the students. Like one of my teacher puts it "you are all special children for us". if the student happens to fall for a classmate who hates his/her 'teacher admirer', then that would an extremely irritating situation.

  14. Susan
    I feel I have so much to catch up on! You are teaching? I recall you time in Ireland, were you studying or teaching then? I feel like I have been a few places with you including marriage.

    It was lovely to hear from you today. Sounds like you are keeping well...crazy students and all. I mentioned on Facebook a couple of cities I will be visiting when I am in India. I have never been before so apologies if my question of whether you live close to them sounds ridiculous! :)

    Best wishes Susan...

    Jeanne xx

  15. I've been a teachrr and i agrre with your perceptions. Funny, in never talked abouy these things with colleagues.

    This made me chuckle.

    Take care susan.

  16. Thoroughly enjoyed this Sus. As I was reading I could picture various students...And I've done the imagery thing too...I even had nicknames in my head - I'm bad that way! For example, the guy who just sat and contributed nothing - Sitting Bull...Teaching is a pleasure...most of the time!

  17. I like your openness on this issue.

    It's not easy being a teacher. I tried it for a few years and quit.I felt I was giving too much of myself and getting very little back ( and I don't mean money).

  18. Being a techer is the best way to observe and learn especially if you are teaching the smaller kids.
    Yes knowingly or unkowingly one tends to be partial to some students at times...... I have observed that when I was in school.

  19. Colleen:

    Ah! when you read this, it all seems so rosy but sometimes in reality, I wonder whether this is actually my calling.


    I face many issues with outspoken students who just cannot keep still. Just because they can talk vociferously they think that the always haev the right to talk.

    Age, you perfectly understand my state. Glad. And yes, we will have so much to talk that we won't notice the passage of time.

  20. Hilary:

    Reading your insights are always interesting for me as they always strive to inform and engage me. Thanks for your interest. I need your wishes if I'm continuing as a teacher, dear Hilary.


    Being a mother is definitely balancing many different roles. I believe that our first teachers are our parents. Cheers to you, for you're a teacher as well.

  21. Zuzana:

    Throwing them out of a window is more of humour to me than literally doing that.
    As for the compliments, you are indeed worthy.



    Perhaps you should write a reply to this post on your blog.

  22. Brian:

    The light in their eyes is what keeps us going inspite of everything.


    Common sense is not so common, Jan. Even I used to admire teachers before I became one. Now I think differently.

  23. Nevine:

    I know these memories which you've shared on and off. But I guess you are better off now with books and a PhD to strive for. Thanks for coming by, dear Nevine.


    Ah! you would have been my favourite student, Steve.
    India-girl!!! The first time I'm hearing this. Thanks.

  24. Dulce:

    You would understand better. Patience is something one HAS to learn when one is a teacher. Being a teacher also teaches us many many things.

    Your comments are so interactive, Dulce. Thanks and a big kiss.


    Ah, talk about spoon feeding! I do it all the time to the students.
    Glad that you related to this one.

  25. Satchin:

    First off, thanks for coming over here, dear Satchin. It is always great to receive a comment from a dear friend and student. Your teacher is right when she says that all students are special but that does not mean that always the teacher can be a never-ending fountain of love, care and other things.

    Students should also be admonished and that admonishing is not because the teacher has some spite over the student (many students think so).


    Ah, Jeanne, I am a teacher. I was doing my PhD before this and now I'm teaching. While at Ireland, I was an exchange student and that was last year. I began teaching from Sep 2010. I should check up on your India plan.

    Thanks for coming by dear Jeanne. Have a good day.

  26. Myrna:

    Chuckle!!! Sometimes when some smart-ass student says something, even I feel like doing so but I pretend seriousness.


    Ah, when I want to do something to them, I also picture the scene and control myself.

  27. DUTA:

    Sometimes even I feel so, DUTA. I have many times contemplated leaving the job but I am still here.


    Observe! Oh yes but sometimes a teacher can exactly predict the student. Partiality is not good even unknowingly. I take great care about that as I know the pain of being side-lined by teachers.

  28. I take this opportunity to apologize to all the teachers I deliberately gave silly answers to! Thanks goodness they only threw me out in their imagination! And that cartoon is a hilarious one, the type of silly answers we would give teachers. Of course nowadays I have a little bit more respect...

  29. Hi Susan .. thank you for the comment .. you will make a good teacher - because you are willing to learn and understand.

    Kids can teach us so much .. and everything they do "may be bad" .. but we probably did similar and equally didn't get appreciated!!

    You're understanding their lives and adapting to them .. we can't impose our thoughts on them .. they're kids.

    I did hear an interesting thought recently on a tv programme here about secondary school kids - 16ish ... "we can't impose adult rules on them - because they're not adults .. if we wanted to do that then we should take away the teenage-growing years and 'make' them adults at 11 ... society and life hasn't done that - those teenage tantrums are for a reason" - just some kids stretch us rather further than necessary! Cheers Hilary

  30. My university hosts international conferences. I hope you can present a research paper in one. That would be an opportune time for us to meet and shop talk. :)

  31. OtienoHongo:

    Smiles. I guess all of us have passed that stage.


    Your words warm my insides. Many thanks for making a visit again. And, you're right when you say that we shouldn't impose our views and thoughts on them.

  32. Susan, how on earth do you search for such funny and related pictures. The boy in that picture with his dry answers. Hehehe. Already started picturing you in the place of that teacher in my imagination and I can’t stop laughing at your facial expressions :D

    On a different note, all along as I was reading your post, I did find an interesting resemblance. Same thing is applicable to parents and children relationship. Even a parent has to undergo all this in bringing up the children equally.

    I did teach people who were much elder to me and experienced. Technically it’s a bit more challenging and there is no scope for such feelings as you penned down. Teaching children seems dreamy and lovely. To be successful at teaching we need to know a bit of psychology as well apart from having lots of patience.

  33. Asif:

    Selcting pictures take my time before I post but I enjoy the process. But parent-chidren relationship is one-to-one and the parent has the luxury of taking care of one or two kids unlike teachers who have a class of 25 or 40. Well, the formula is the same.

    Thanks for coming back to these posts, Asif.



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