Monday, September 06, 2010 only a day away

Last Thursday I met 14 of the 18 kids in my class. I'm really excited about this year with them. But I think I broke one of my cardinal rules. Unintentionally but still.

Lisa Parisi recently wrote about whether or not she should talk to previous teachers about her students. She laid out the pros and cons very well.

I commented that I like to get to know my students for the first week and then talk to their previous teachers. That way I build my own impressions of them but then I benefit from learning about their histories and tips for helping them. The best of both worlds.

Unfortunately this year a lovely teacher I work with already knew a lot of these kids. As a result, I've heard quite a bit about them. None of it is negative but it shaped my view of them as I met them last week.

I'm concerned that I've already placed students into certain boxes in my mind. This will make it harder to hold high expectations for them or have patience with them or who knows what else. This is my own fault so, starting tomorrow, I'll just have to work extra hard to see each of these little darlings for themselves rather than through others' eyes.


Teacher Tom said...

As I read your post I realized that the only person who ever talks to me about my 2-year-old students before I meet them are their parents. On the one hand, of course they know their children best, while on the other they could also be flat out wrong (e.g., projecting, protecting, exaggerating, misinterpreting).

I find that first impressions don't really matter once I get to know the child. I'll bet that's true for you too. Our personalities -- especially when we are young -- are extensions of our relationships with others. As teachers, we want children to emerge, but they only emerge within the context of their relationship with us. They will be "drawn out" by whatever adult they spend time with. What sets teachers apart from other adults is that we draw them out consciously.

K.DeLeon said...
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K.DeLeon said...

I have been in a similar situation. Once other teachers tell you about your students you start to notice the things the teacher claimed much more! Then you are left wondering if the teacher was very right or if you are judging the student purely based on what was said. It's so frustrating to feel that you are not being completely fair to each student. Do your best to be open minded and I'm sure you will be able to form your own unique relationship with all of your students!