A teacher can be decisive in the life of a child, both in matters related to teaching and in his way of acting.
Miss Thompson was very worried. Teddy, one of his students, always knew how to be nasty. She pretended to love all her students equally, but with Teddy it was impossible.
One day, when reviewing his file, he was surprised by the comments of the previous teachers: they all considered him an excellent student, but his third-grade teacher pointed out that since Teddy’s mother had died his father showed no interest in him, and if not, they soon took “letters in the matter”, his life at home would end up affecting him. Miss Thompson understood.
For Christmas each child brought him a gift. Teddy offered her a jewelery bracelet and a half-empty perfume bottle, roughly wrapped.
All the children laughed until the teacher praised the bracelet and put a few drops of perfume on her wrist.
“Miss Thompson, you smell the way my mom used to smell today,” Teddy told her after class.
Miss Thompson began to pay special attention to this student, to encourage him, to praise him, and Teddy finished the course at the top of the class.
A year later the teacher found a note from Teddy. He told her that she was still the best teacher. Teddy continued to write to her even after finishing college.
On her wedding day, Teddy said, “Thank you for believing in me, for making me feel important, and for showing me that I could change.”
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Excited, Miss Thompson replied: “You are wrong Teddy: it was you who taught me that I could change. Until I met you, I did not know what it was to teach.”
This story, told by NLP expert Robert Dilts, shows just how relevant a teacher can be in a child’s life.
Much is said about the influence of the family, but young people spend more hours in school, high school and university than in the company of their parents, a time in which its impact on the soul of the child or the child is completely ignored. Teen.
COLLECTING LETTERS FROM STUDENTS
Purification Gato García, a professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Extremadura, wanted to address this issue and, between 1995 and 2004, collected innumerable letters from students to teachers, from which she selected 180 in her book Professors who leave a mark.
The work shows how complex and diverse the relationship between student and teacher can be, and the importance that a simple detail or gesture of the teacher can acquire without him being aware of it.
Purificación Gato points out three ways to leave a positive mark: educate for who you are and for the values that are transmitted, give affection and attention, and motivate students.
Whereas when a teacher is usually remembered negatively, it is for his incompetence, his distance and impersonality, or for the fear he caused.
TEACHERS WHO LEAVE A POSITIVE MARK
THE PASSIONATE TEACHER
Who does not fondly remember that professor who gave himself enthusiastically to teaching his subject, often spreading his love for it?
It is easy to confuse the subject with the teacher who teaches it and these teachers awaken the pleasure of learning and even more than one vocation.
” Sincerity and authenticity are essential: the student has a special radar to detect when a role is being played and when it is spoken from the feeling”, says Anna Forés, PhD in Philosophy and Education Sciences.
THE TEACHER ADMIRED FOR HIS PERSONALITY AND VALUES
The teacher can be a reference or a model that the child or young person would like to resemble in certain aspects.
This admiration facilitates the integration of positive values such as honesty, humility, commitment and a sense of humor, as well as ways of behaving and facing life.
“In addition to mastering his subject, the teacher must be aware that he is dealing with people at an important stage of his life. It is advisable for him to be humble and reflect on what each student needs. If there is good ‘chemistry’, each teacher is for the child, a way to expand the universe shown by the parents and to glimpse other ways of being in the world “, says Neus Figueras, a child psychologist.
THE TEACHER WHO BELIEVES IN HIS STUDENTS
How a teacher values a child influences his performance.
A study was conducted with a group of children of similar intelligence level that was divided in two.
The first subgroup was assigned to a teacher who was told that his students were gifted. The second subgroup was put in the hands of a teacher who was told that children were slow to learn.
One year later, the subgroup classified as “gifted” obtained higher scores than in the first evaluation, while the “slow” obtained scores much lower than those of the first exam.
A timely positive comment can erase labels that weigh like slabs now or in the future.
Trust and support are the best springboard for progress, especially if the student is going through a difficult period.
“Phrases of the style: ‘you will be a wretch, like your brother’, ‘you will never do anything to the right’ they are engraved with fire, as are the punishments, distance and impersonality. In these situations, intervention should be made from the teamwork “, assures psychopedagogue Mónica de la Calva.
TEACHERS WHO LEAVE A NEGATIVE MARK
THE TEACHER WHO DEMANDS AND DEMANDS
The child needs as many doses of affection as it is demanding. Without it there is no motivation or performance.
“The art of the teacher requires knowing how to calibrate where the limit is in each case, because it fails both when it demands more and when it demands less. It usually tends to the minimum effort; stimulating the student implies, therefore, getting the best out of him and convince him of his potential. But if we go overboard, we can plunge him into anguish, “says Anna Forés.
What to do if the child calls his teacher demanding and unfair?
“Overprotection prevents the development of autonomy. Parents who study and do homework with their children feel evaluated with the grades and can get carried away by anger if they are not what they expected. Before reacting, it is advisable to let the child let off steam without taking sides or acting. Often the child seeks confrontation to gain comfort. ”
“The student’s complaint against the teacher is frequent, but rarely justified. For example, they often complain about homework. But 75% can assume them perfectly and only 25% have a real problem. Parents and teachers should support each other and dialogue constantly “, advises Mónica de la Calva.
THE DISTANT AND INDIFFERENT PROFESSOR
Among the undesirable influences are the teachers who simply drop their shit and walk away.
How are problems that arise in class and in the lives of students, which may include separation from parents or the death of a relative, addressed, without strengthening human bonds?
The role of the teacher is decisive in channeling experiences that can become traumatic.
But, the first rule to educate a child is to teach him to love himself. When he puts distance the message that is emitted is: “You are not important to me.”
Good students tend to adapt, but those with difficulties suffer the most.
THE FEARFUL TEACHER
Even more damaging is the mark left by a teacher who instills fear because of his threats, punishments or his way of being.
They are usually authoritarian and undemocratic teachers, more concerned with discipline or with making the subject sacred than with the well – being of the people.
Fear makes communication difficult, and alertness blocks the learning process and kills the pleasure of learning.
A hostile environment reduces performance, although it is true that having control of the classroom is essential in the task of teaching.
” Authority cannot be confused with authoritarianism and a teacher must always measure his words. The worst thing that can be done is ridicule or bring out before the class a confidence that the student has made at a certain moment. These are actions that mark for all life “,
TOSHIRO KANAMORI’S OPEN CLASS
Respect is not imposed, it is earned. So does Toshiro Kanamori, a Japanese teacher whose teaching has gone around the world through the moving and award-winning documentary Children full of life.
“Yes, because we only have one life and it is preferable to live it with joy. The key: to think of others in an authentic way.”
In class every day three students express in a letter what they feel and think.
One day a child recounts the death of his grandmother; the letter serves to open the feelings of the rest of his companions before the loss of a loved family member. Another day taunts against a partner are addressed.
Kanamori teaches schoolchildren to delve into their emotions and those of others, transmits the value of empathy, compassion, friendship, teamwork the value of life.
We all wish we had more teachers like him. Or be.
THE SECRETS OF THE GOOD TEACHER
- Be genuine. There is no worse teacher than the one who leaves no trace, something common in today’s education system. A good teacher must be demanding and convey a taste for learning.
- Join facets. To teach well, it is said that you have to be part actor, part clown, part sergeant, part friend and part father.
- Treat each student. The needs of a good student are different from those of one with learning disabilities. The first needs demand; the second, understanding and appreciation.
- Encourage autonomy. The imprints of the teachers are important in the evolutionary process of the child, because school is the first way to leave home and enter the world.
HOW TO DEAL WITH PROBLEMS?
The way problems are handled can contribute to making them worse. That is why it is convenient to cultivate these aspects:
- Positive reinforcement. Better results are obtained by reinforcing achievement and effort than by punishing or criticizing negative behaviors. Words of encouragement motivate more than exemplary punishment.
- A space for reflection. Faced with an undisciplined or underperforming student, it is convenient to consider the possible reasons. “Sometimes children do what they can, not what they want. Indiscipline and lack of concentration can be related to family tensions. You do not have to judge hastily, ” says Anna Forés.
- A more systemic pedagogy. Marianne Franke-Gricksch explains how systemic pedagogy helps solve many problems thanks to its approach that goes beyond the individual. One of his students disturbed the class and his classmates confronted him. Then the boy approached crying asking for help from his teacher. “I just told him: ‘ You are one of us! ‘ And I asked the other children to do the same. From that moment everything changed,” says Marianne.
- Maintain consistency. When a problem arises, parents should continue to show respect for the teacher’s work. Criticizing him means losing coherence with the child, since the family has been the one who has chosen the school for him. And it hinders resolution.
- Strengthen the bond. When the student is young, the displays of affection will help to strengthen the bond, which will motivate them to learn. During adolescence, complicity should be sought. Resorting to humor and leaving the classroom framework allows for relationships to be established where discipline remains on the sidelines.