Today, I went to the dentist. Just a check-up and cleaning, but the phobia remains. I have had plenty of dental work since my childhood days, and earlier haunting experiences have left a lasting impression on me that does not see me laying on a beach in the tropics. Going to the dentist to me is like standing out in minus 30 degree weather with no gloves or scarf.
How many students feel this way about school? Do children get the same impression of school as I do with Dentists? A teacher can make a world of difference, good or bad. I always thought I was friendly and fun as a teacher and last week at a Christmas party I met a former student to whom I taught Science. I asked her what she remembered about being in my class and the only thing she said was, "I remember getting a detention from you."
Wow! Not the impression I was looking for. It made me reflect on my practice. How many other students over the last 20+ years in the classroom remember the negative? I know in my heart that I made learning fun and provided opportunity for group work laughter and individuality.
I hope this situation was a rare one, and I hope that all teachers have rare occasions like this. If going to school for children is like going to the dentist, then why would they want to go? Learning should be fun and teachers have the power and gift to make school more enjoyable days of a student's life. Don't be a dentist.
My dentist today was excellent, and has always been. I am not trying to depict that going to the dentist is horrible, but for me the impression from years ago still lasts today.