Saturday, November 27, 2010

What NOT to do as a teacher

Time is flying. The fall semester is almost over. I have been very busy with school work and classroom observations. I am truly enjoying my time watching teachers in action in their classrooms. Practical experience and advice is always appreciated in my book. One of the teachers I observe actually had to throw a student out of class. It was totally justified. He had it coming, but I felt bad for both of them. The student protested about leaving and cursed at the teacher. The teacher was absolutely fed up with his behavior and inability to keep his mouth shut. The student refused to leave and the teacher had to call security. It was hard to watch, but it was a valuable lesson for me.

Another valuable lesson was learned during one of my college classes. Last Monday during my methods class, my professor took the liberty of copying my latest lesson plan and distributing it to my classmates so they could critique it. She did this without my knowledge and I was quite angry with her. Her comments were not constructive although my classmates ideas were. I did not show any anger. I was calm and collected. Thanked everyone for their feedback and was anxious to move on. Clearly the professor did not have anything planned to teach us because she then handed out a copy of another student's lesson plan and the process started all over. I figured I was living in a glass house right then and there so I would not be offering any feedback. When she began to railroad this other student he became very defensive. The professor in turn said, "Don't get pissy with me. I am only trying to help you." I was mortified, as was the rest of the class. I don't particularly like the guy she was critiquing, but the personal attack was not justified.

After class I approached her to get my original copy of my assignment so I could revise it. It was clear she was afraid I might confront her about her behavior. She continued talking to another student basically ignoring me while handing me my paper. I have never seen anything so rude from a professor. I was completely taken back. By the time I got home I was enraged. I vented to my husband and sat down to write her a letter. I wrote the letter but never emailed it. To be honest I was afraid of retribution. She is my advisor and I do not want any drama from her. I walked away learning a very valuable lesson. I will never embarrass a student in front of a class, regardless of grade level. My comments will be reserved for her evaluation when the semester is over. Thankfully my university requires all students to rate their professors electronically when classes are completed. This comments are supposedly anonymous. Even if they weren't, I am being honest in my feedback.

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