Do we have the Time to Care for Students?
Teaching poses a variety of challenges. Teachers are responsible and accountable to many people, institutions, and organizations, be it formal or informal. They have to plan for, prepare, and implement a myriad of demanding tasks. Instructing, grading, reporting, disciplining, supporting, and communicating are few of the many tasks expected from a teacher. if this is the case, where do teachers find the time to care for students? As we know, care is a deliberate, effortful, and timestaking process. If teachers are not relieved from some of their existing responsibilities, can they be expected to become caring toward their students?
Perhaps the problem lies in the question itself. Can teachers be relieved from their existing responsibilities? It is evident that responsibilities only add up. Any teacher would agree that the demands to engage in more and more responsibilities at school are inevitable. So, this is not an option to consider. In fact, if a teacher fails to perform any of these, he is likely to be reprimanded and possibly fired! Reducing work load isn’t a clear way out from this situation.
The act of caring shouldn’t be seen and considered to operate at the ‘periphery’ of the act of teaching. It would be wise and practical to integrate the act of caring for students in ALL THAT A TEACHER DOES, whether it is inside or outside of the classroom. As I said in the book, “How to Become a Caring Teacher”, students will not trust a teacher who teaches something and does something totally contrary to what he teaches. The act of caring should color every activity, every atmosphere, every person, every responsibility, and every interaction in and outside of the classroom
This is possible through the “rose model” to classroom teaching and interaction. If you take a closer look at a rose flower, you will realize that the petals are closely intertwined. A daisy, on the other hand, has petals that are separated and distinctly visible. So, in the daisy, one sees each petal; whereas, in the rose, one sees the whole flower without regard to individual petals.
A caring teacher’s responsibilities (like the many petals in a rose) are coated with his ability to care for his students. Every act and effort made in the classroom are marked by the intention to cater to the ‘humanity’ of an individual student. Thus, following the rose model, ‘care’ is at the core of everything a teacher does.
Does caring for students take time?
Yes it does, if a teacher considers ‘caring’ as one of the many responsibilities (the daisy model) imposed on him.
No it doesn’t, if a teacher considers ‘caring’ as the ingredient that holds all other responsibilities together and give meaning and efficiency to them!
The choice…is YOURS!
Copyright April 2006 by Dr. Edward Roy Krishnan, www.affectiveteaching.com