I really enjoyed this week’s readings, as they got to the heart of why we should be teachers in the first place. In particular, I was drawn to Freire’s Teaching as a human act article. Something I have always believed is that teachers should be able to communicate their passion for the subject they are teaching to their students. For example, I have had teachers who were clearly qualified through their background and degrees to teach the class, but they failed to communicate any passion for being there. Likewise, I have had classes which maybe were not the most interesting of classes coming in but the teacher through their passion was able to make it more enjoyable and fun to come to. If we as teachers can communicate the love of the subject and of learning to our classes, then that will foster a great classroom environment.
I also appreciated the clarity that Darder’s Teaching as an act of love article provides. We do not have to become completely invested in our students’ personal lives, although there may be moments where that might be appropriate. But we should treat students with respect and view them as a whole person when they come into the classroom, and as teachers we should not be afraid to showcase who we are as people at times when it is appropriate. I mentioned this before but I always play music before my class starts to communicate my musical tastes to my students in the hopes of getting them to be relaxed when they log into the classroom. We have impromptu speeches in our class where we can discuss any subjects from favorite musical tastes to places we would like to travel to the best places to eat in Blacksburg. Again, this does not mean that I open up my whole life to them, but any moments where we can show that we’re more than someone who teaches them material goes a long way to creating a respectful relationship.
Bottom line, I advise to lean on the side of empathy during these unparalleled times. People have a lot on their plate including many things that we probably do not know about. This does not mean that we have to acquiesce to every demand that our students ask, but we should also remember that we are all going through these turbulent times together. That story that Homero shared about not getting mad at a student for watching soccer has stuck with me, and I hope we can all respond with kindness even in the worst of times.