Why do I care?

After having some hurtful things said about me today by a student, I started to wonder why it upset me so much, after all, is it important that your students like you? Think you are cool? Want to be in your class?

Now, I’m not talking about respect, I’m talking about positive feelings towards. Undoubtedly, a student must respect their teacher (and vice versa) for learning to occur.

Last year, I developed a thick skin. The students who hated me hated every teacher, hated school, their parents, and most things generally. The students who have expressed their displeasure this year, however, are the “nice” kids.

I have always felt that as a teacher or a parent, it isn’t important that kids “like” you, because, after all, kids won’t always appreciate you doing what’s best for them when they disagree about what it is that’s best for them. However this rationalisation hasn’t helped the feeling that today’s comments have planted in my stomach.

How do we cope with these comments about our personal qualities in a professional capacity?

Is inclusive education the best solution?

Sometimes inclusive education seems to me more like a manifestation of capitalist cost-cutting greed than a positive educational philosophy.

This year I have 3 year 7 classes, each with more and more students being identified each day with literacy problems, processing disorders, and a host of other obstacles to their learning, and a challenging year 10 low literacy class. In these classes, and perhaps it is just my limited skills set being a new teacher (though other teachers have expressed the same sentiment), it seems almost impossible to assist these kids to actually achieve the outcomes without constant one-on-one help. Most of these students to whom i refer need a full time aide, but do not qualify for funding.

Today I was fortunate enough to only have half a year 10 class. One of the most struggling students had an aide to herself. Every student listened, participated, and demonstrated that they had achieved the lesson outcomes by the end of the lesson.

Whilst I was elated, I was also extremely disheartened. To say that class sizes don’t make a difference to students learning, or to put in place other teaching strategies which deprive the kids in need of one-on-one time with teachers is simply ludicrous. I can only imagine the progress I could make if I had a class of 10 each day, or if I was given the opportunity and funding to withdraw struggling kids for periods of intensive learning.

The philosophy of inclusive education might be politically correct, but I am thinking more and more these days that it isn’t the correct solution for our children’s learning.