To the Editor:
As a special education teacher for 28 years, I find that teachers must not necessarily “love” their students, but they must truly care about each one beyond the school walls (“I Don’t Have to Love My Students to Be a Good Teacher,” March 4, 2022).
Over the years, I have found that teachers who consider their positions no more than a job are not only ineffective teachers but also merely work their way through the curriculum with no consideration for the appropriateness of delivery methods for students with learning differences, who need a little extra help, or those who have rotten home lives.
Anyone can go through classes and learn the methodology of teaching, but a true teacher is, yes, “called” and works as much with her heart as her training. She inspires the desire to learn by meeting students where they are and helping them make progress, not by simply presenting material and considering her job done. Most students are smart enough to realize those teachers don’t care about them but are simply completing a task in return for a check.
On the other hand, I realize that parents should bear the responsibility for raising their kids and often throw that responsibility on the teacher. When teachers give kids the cold shoulder and refuse to take on the extra burden to support these kids, students are left with absolutely no support and learn only that adults can’t be trusted. No wonder more and more students are feeling isolated.
Teachers can play a part in steering kids in a positive direction by taking an interest and encouraging them or, conversely, steering kids in a negative direction by demonstrating that teachers, too, don’t care about them.
Can you make a difference in a child’s life? Not if it’s “just a job.”
A version of this article appeared in the April 06, 2022 edition of Education Week as Teachers Must Care About Their Students