Are your students aware you like them?
“Children learn best when they like their teacher and they think their teacher likes them” — Gordon Neufeld
I came across the quote sometime early in the morning and it got me wondering how true this statement is. I particularly could relate to the latter part of the quote — “ they think their teachers like them”.
The statement is quite powerful by itself. There was a time when I failed to learn a subject because of my teacher. She was considered one of the best teachers in my school. Many of my peers enjoyed her classes. And then there was me, who failed to do well in her class and not study. I had zero interest to learn the subject.
I did badly in all the tests conducted. So bad, that once I almost got a zero in one of the tests! Ashamed to even see the mark, I was not sure why I was doing badly. The teacher came up to me and said that she wanted to meet my mom. That’s it! I was doomed. Firstly, I had to share the mark with my mother and to top that I had to ask her to come by school and meet the teacher. I was so afraid!
I went home and I told my mom about the test score and that the teacher wanted to meet her. Like any other mom, she was obviously disappointed on seeing my score. She kept asking me, why I had no interest to study that subject. Me, like any other child, ashamed of the marks and not sure what to say, started crying. My mom left the room.
Later that night, she came to my bed and said, “I need to understand what is troubling you. You are capable of so much more. You have made me proud many a times and I need to fix this. There is a reason you are not doing well. Let me help”. That moment, I found a friend in my mother. I confessed to her, “ Amma, it is not that I don’t want to study and do well in this subject. But I feel so bad. This teacher never smiles at me. She doesn’t treat me the way she treats everybody else in class. I feel hurt. And I don’t want to study with her.”
The next day, my mom met the teacher, they had a talk. Surprisingly, that evening, the same teacher passed by and gave me a smile. It felt nice. First time she actually smiled at me!
That year, i managed to score good marks in the subject during the final exam making my mom relieved. I really enjoyed learning for the exam.
The interesting thing to note is that, My teacher was one of the favorites for many at school. She was popular. My peers admired her teaching. But, she failed to connect with me as a learner. All because I felt she didn’t like me.
It is really tough as a teacher to connect with all the students. Especially, if you are teaching a large crowd of 30 children. However, if you find there is a particular student not opening up in class, that is an alarm sign. Act on it. Connect with them. Get them to open up and be active! We all know how precious each child is. :)