giovedì 4 febbraio 2010

Teacher's pets and favorites

Never the twain shall meet...

I've been thinking about the teacher/student dynamic a lot in these past days. For a teacher, what is playing favorites? Is having favorites okay? Because I definitely have them. I try my absolute best not to show it, but I have them. For example, there's a girl in one of my younger classes, A, who always has a smile on her face, wears brightly colored sweaters and turquoise pants, does her best to speak in class, and plays in a band. If I were 15, I would want to be best friends. Does it show in my face when I walk in the class that I am in love with her? I sure hope not. I don't look at her more than the others, I call on (torture) everyone as equally as I can. But after a sometimes full and stressful week, a smiling face like hers plus the seemingly genuine desire to learn absolutely delights me, and I look forward to that class.
Alla fine, though I may have favorites, I won't play favorites.

I haven't encountered too many teacher's pets in these months (perhaps because I don't actually give grades), but the quality of the few I've encountered has been quite high. For example, R, a handsome boy at Parini passionate about cooking, sailing, and French classics, never misses an opportunity to ingratiate himself. He's the first to help me if something isn't going right (like when the CD player wouldn't work, cazzo, I'm 22 years old, I shouldn't need help with these things!). Today as I arrived in class, I gave the erasers a sideways glance and commented that they looked very white, someone must have made lots of mistakes. He immediately collected them and took them to the window to beat them against the sill, only to discover that they were, in fact, white erasers. I can't help but smile. No one has ever run to clap erasers for me before, but it ain't gonna help him pass the FCE.

It's a delicate balance to maintain, the democracy of the classroom. Every student has a right to my attention, and I try to give it equally, even though to some I would like to give more, and to others I would like to give less...

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