Sunday, February 7, 2010

Do students reflect the personality of their teacher?

During a recent school visit I made a very interesting observation.

I was in the process of setting up for my presentation in the school media center. About 5 minutes before the designated starting time the third grade class arrived, led by their student teacher. Their classroom teacher was nowhere in sight. The children were seated and my presentation began. During my presentations I ask a lot of questions, always encouraging interaction and engaging the students. It didn’t take me long to realize that most of the children in this class, with unpleasant frowns on their faces, didn’t particularly want to be engaged. The answers to my questions tended toward the negative and, when asked to create their own fairy ideas for a story, many of the children contributed ideas such as the Robber Fairy, the Toy Fairy (steals toys) and other mean-spirited fairies. I should mention here that this particular school is in a rather upscale suburban neighborhood.

Twenty minutes into the presentation the children finally seemed to relax and we were having a nice discussion. Then the classroom teacher appeared. No surprise – she had the same negative expression on her face that the children had had when they entered the room. In fact, the first words out of her mouth were, “Sara, stop talking. Jason, put that pencil away.” She proceeded to sit, arms crossed, staring into space while I went on with my presentation. Is this why the children acted the way they did?

When this class left the media center and the next class arrived, I watched carefully. These children entered the room smiling, accompanied by their teacher who was also smiling. This presentation proved to be one of the most enjoyable I have ever had. Not only did the children have lots of creative ideas, but the teacher even raised her hand a few times and offered her own creative story ideas. The children and the teacher all had the same positive attitudes. The ideas this class offered for their fairy stories were kind fairies such as the rainbow fairy, the snow fairy and the messy desk fairy. In retrospect, the teacher of this class looked and acted as much as Mary Poppins as anyone I have ever met. What lucky kids!
ooking at these two examples, coming from the same school on the same day, I have to wonder - is this a coincidence or do teachers have this much influence on the personalities of our children?

Bobbie Hinman

1 comment:

Karen Cioffi said...

What an interesting post. My daughter is a 4th grade NYC public school teacher and it seems they affect her much more than she affects them.

I do believe the media, movies, radio, parents, and such have much more of an influence over children than their teacher.

But, you never know, I guess!

Karen Cioffi (Karen and Robyn Writing for Children)