I have always considered myself to be a positive individual especially where students are concerned. I have always believed that I need to espouse the potential which is inherent in us all.
#29daysofwriting has made me reflect on this a little. Lately I have been struggling to identify exactly what to write about so I have taken to using the very helpful list of ideas from @mrlockyer including his suggestion with regards writing about my best teacher as a child.
I have a number of teachers that I consider to have been my best during my formal schooling years, each playing some part in shaping my teaching beliefs and style. One of these being my teacher of Accounting which I studied as part of an accelerated Higher grade course where I had never previously studied Accounting.
One of the sustaining memories of this teacher was the fact that she told me she didn’t think I would be successful in the course. She, my teacher, told me I didn’t have the potential. This is very much contradictory to my beliefs regarding the need for teachers to be positive however until now I have never really reflected on this.
By telling me I couldn’t this teachers spurred me on to prove that she was wrong. My previous years results had been a little disappointing and had led to me continuing into my 6th year in high school as opposed to going to University at the end of 5th year. As such I was a little despondent at the time. Her message was a little bit of a kick up the backside which looking back may have been exactly what I needed at the time.
In terms of her teaching, she worked me hard so her comment was not the first sign of her giving up on me. At the end of the year I achieved an A grade which I was proud of, proving her to be wrong.
I suspect she made her decision to tell me about my lack of potential based on her initial impressions of me, possibly some discussions in the staff room along with a variety of other data and factors. I suspect she didn’t do this lightly. I also suspect she believe this was the message I needed to hear to ensure I achieved my potential as she saw it, a potential she never identified to me.
I still believe positivity is very, very important in teachers of our students however I also believe we need to treat every student as an individual and in doing so maybe a positive, one size fits all approach, may not always be appropriate. That said I am not sure I would have the confidence to use such a reverse psychology driven approach.