Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lessons from my past-#1

I'm not sure if I've made it clear, but I find history to be important, and have believed this for quite a while. I'm also a bit of a packrat, and I therefore have my class notes from 6th grade through the present (which makes for very little space in my room, but that's another story).

I find it fascinating to occasionally go through this, in the hope of meeting a much younger, more idealistic, more naive version of myself, and it ends up being a very long trip down memory lane. There's also a lot you can learn about teaching when you see how your own teachers treated you. It's absolutely amazing to me, so I'm going to share a bit of what I've learned:

Positive Reinforcement: A grade on an exam is a number and only that. The student's reaction to that number depends on the teacher's reaction. (I'm also being a bit influenced by R' Tatz's tapes, thanks to Stx and Karl, where he speaks about the problem of schools when teachers compare students to each other, thereby destroying the "lesser" student) If a teacher writes "Great, etc" on an exam, the student is elated. Even if the teacher writes something neutral to negative, such as, "what happened?" or "please see me," it shows that the teacher is interested and cares. Getting a paper back with a 65% and no comment shows no interest, and the student reacts to that. I had a teacher in the Fall semester who said that the worst thing that a student can do when getting a paper back is to crumple it up and throw it out-because that shows that they're used to "failure" and don't want to think about another one.

For me, it was so important to know that a teacher cared about ME. It was partially a self-esteem thing, partially an ego, but I wanted to be special. Getting good grades didn't matter if there was nobody who cared about them...


Karl said...

I am sure R' Tatz said the worst a parent can do to ruin a child is ask "what grade did you get?" and then "and what did everyone else get?" Always comparing to others is what is often done, but its not
true Yiddishkeit. A person must be the best they can be, irrespective of others.

TRW said...

He said that he wasn't talking about Jewish schools-apparantly in secular schools (and I've never heard this before), they read out the grades to the whole class, which DOES hurt a child..