Teacher Preparation

Teachers Are Not Social Workers

By Caroline Cournoyer — January 13, 2011 1 min read
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Teachers should spend less time worrying about students’ problems at home and more time creating a positive learning environment at school, wrote Edutopia blogger Ben Johnson.

He raised the concern that some teachers, especially those in training, “think that their number one calling in life is to dig deep into the lives and homes of their students, ostensibly, so they can better understand them to teach them.”

But rather than doing the work fit for a school counselor or social worker, Johnson said, teachers would benefit students more if they focused on giving them the best education possible.

“Of course we care for the students and their plights at home,” said Johnson, but for some students, school is the place they go to escape. “So why do we want to rub salt in the wounds and bring to the forefront all of the problems they face at home?”

Johnson recalls what he did when one of his students came to class with bullet holes in his jacket and an injured leg: He carried on with the lesson, believing that the student “wanted to learn because he was there and had made a tremendous effort to limp to school.” According to Johnson, “students know that education is the solution for many of their problems.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.