It seems only appropriate that we follow up last few weeks posts with a few notes about patience.
Patience in teaching isn’t just a virtue, it is an absolute necessity. A frustrated teacher sends all the wrong signals to your students: that they aren’t trying, that they are stupid, or that they aren’t worth teaching. As a teacher, learning to control that reaction for long enough to find a new explanation for a topic or to track where the student’s understanding stops.
There are reasons for students to have difficulties, and reasons other than academic ones for a teacher to get irritated. Both in school and outside of school, one thing that has perplexed me. People constantly apologize for biology. Needing to use a restroom is natural, so why apologize for it? Everyone poops… they even made a book about it. Just don’t fart at me, and we’re cool.
Similarly, people apologize for their brain chemistry. Anxiety, depression, autism, or executive function disorders…. so long as it doesn’t become a get-out-of-work-free-pass, all is well. I can understand why people apologize here, even if I feel it is unnecessary. Thoughts-as-symptoms can feel very personal, and behavior around them can not entirely feel like it is under control… and it certainly can feel abnormal compared to the perceived social “norm.”
It is with situational things that sometimes I need to periodically remind myself to be patient. This is where I need to remind myself that everyone’s journey is their own, and their own experience has got to guide/teach them. Students will oversleep, traffic happens, and sometimes childcare falls through… but unless it becomes a persistent excuse that I stop believing that people haven’t changed their behavior to adapt to ongoing circumstances.
For students who are clearly telling tales in a futile attempt to get out of work… you are cheating nobody but yourself. I just won’t let you turn in 5 weeks late homework after you didn’t show up or bother to email me. Just sayin’.
But being a student means that you are still a human being. So I understand that things happen. Sometimes.