In life, we do many things to secure the attention of others around us. This attention indicates that we are accepted and appreciated. It further tells us that our thoughts and actions are approved and recognized as being worthy of notice. Similarly, a teacher does many things in the classroom to get the attention of other colleagues, administrators, and students. This is a natural tendency of any teacher. In fact, it is a ‘growth need’ that must be fulfilled for meaningful living. It is not unusual for teachers to expect to be appreciated and approved of their classroom practices. The positive attention given to teachers serves as a motivator to help them find meaning for being a teacher!
Some teachers expect more than just simple attention. They strive to become the ‘center of attention’ in the classroom and at school. They desire to bask in the undivided attention and adoration of everyone in the school toward themselves. They do everything possible to attain this goal and keep it that way. Sometimes, all other goals as a teacher become less important than the need to have everyone’s attention on oneself and gain popularity!
However, the effort to become a caring teacher does not lead to popularity. The path takes a teacher to a place where something more beautiful than popularity comes to view.
Popularity requires that teachers let go of some of their deep rooted principles and compromise in giving students and others ‘what they want or desire’ (with no apparent benefit for them or others). However, a caring teacher doesn’t give students and others with what they want or desire. Instead, he continually strives to provide them with ‘what is good for them’ (clearly beneficial and uplifting for them and others). In other words, a caring teacher pushes students and others to do the ‘right thing’. He does not do things to please each and every member of the school to gain popularity.
Where does all this take a caring teacher? Well, although the path does not lead a caring teacher to become popular, it does lead him to become a RESPECTED individual.
Respect is gained when popularity is sacrificed! A caring teacher strives to gain the respect of his students and others around him. He doesn’t worry about popularity and pleasing everyone to become the center of attention. By doing so, a caring teacher upholds principles and truths that are universally empowering and permanently affecting people to uphold ‘humanity’.
Respect gained in the classroom, by a caring teacher, is a more stable indicator of positive teaching/learning experiences and greater academic achievements at school. Popularity on the other hand, dies as quickly as a teacher loses his temper and decides that he is tired of pleasing people and fulfilling their ‘silly’ needs.
Copyright April 2006 by Dr. Edward Roy Krishnan, www.affectiveteaching.com