Thursday, December 17, 2015

Teaching Well: Sensitivity

Can a teacher be too sensitive?

In some ways, I'm over the top sensitive. For example it really troubles me when a parent or student is not satisfied or expresses a concern. Yet, I want parents and students to speak up because how else are we going to create and implement best possible programs. Though there's that little voice inside of me saying, why didn't we get it right the first time.

Though that's not how school happens. School is a dance that includes the synergy of families, students, educators, leaders, and community members. And when there's a problem, it takes all of us to speak up, work together, and move the issue forward.

I'm also troubled by the constraints of school. For example when you're responsible for large groups, no matter how much you differentiate, you can't give a student the same attention as you could if you were in a small group or one-to-one setting. Hence, there's always that regret that you can't be everywhere helping and coaching during a lesson. Yet, you do your best trying to give everyone the time and attention they need.

Another constraint can be too many people. For example when a child has multiple therapists, specialists, and teachers working on his/her case, it's difficult to best coordinate all those services, however, there's no one service you want to remove. So you do your best to coordinate as well as possible.

Taking in the diversity of lives, experiences, challenges, and drive that a large group of students present can be challenging to those of us who are quite sensitive. We see the issues and want to make change, but we often run out of time or support to do that.

Is it better to be a bit less sensitive to teach well. Sometimes I think the best teachers are those that let issues and concerns roll off their backs or who manage those concerns well with ease. It's possible that you can be too sensitive to teach well or at least teach with a balanced schedule of time and attention.

Whatever the case, let's just say that sensitivity plays a big role in education. It's what makes some of us jump for joy when a child triumphs and cry crocodile tears when your desire to reach all is thwarted by any one of the many obstacles that occur in education.

Like all ways of being, sensitivity can be good and not so good. It all depends on the circumstances.