I don't feel very emotionally involved...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 14, 2013

    I don't know what it is, and I'm slightly worried that it will affect my abilities as a teacher negatively, but I really don't feel that emotionally involved in my job.

    I compare myself to other teachers at my school, and they all seem very caring, empathetic, mainly the types to cry and hug students when they graduate.

    I just feel very business like. I don't know what it is, if it's some form of sociopathy or what, but I just don't really feel deep emotional connections to my students, and it just feels to me like a rewarding job.

    I am always very positive and happy, I don't get involved in the staff quarrels, I stay away from teachers who speak very negatively about the students as a whole, but sometimes when I'm talking to other teachers about a student who I'm having problems with and all they seem to see is a wonderful human being with a halo floating over their heads it frustrates me and makes me feel guilty that I'm not able to see the same student.

    Anyway, the end of the year arrived, and the teacher across the hall was visited by all of the students, they all hugged her, they all cried, so did the teacher. By comparison, yes it was my first year, but I probably had one or two students drop by and say any meaningful goodbyes.

    Even last year when I was only teaching for half the year, the students said much more meaningful things to me and wrote notes to me thanking me, but this year there was very little of that. All that was written on my board was "_____ was here." etc.

    I don't know. I guess I was a little depressed that they were going, but also happy, and a little proud, but nowhere near emotional. I was more concerned with getting my classroom cleaned up. Is this type of attitude a problem?

    Should I work on being more empathetic? (when people are sad or feeling emotional around me, I have a REALLY hard time sympathizing) Is it a problem that I like my job, but it really is just a job to me and not like a life mission?
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't think this is a necessarily a problem. I had all types of teachers and I think that's a great life experience! It's not as though you don't like your job and don't like the students...you just see it as your job to educate them the year you have them and them pass them along as they naturally go.

    I enjoy getting to know my students. I like them as people. Most of them. :) I am sad to know there are many students I've particularly cared for that I very likely won't ever see again. (Though there are many I will see, in life and through social media.) I think having a connection is valuable when teaching students because it feels nice to know someone is interested in you and cares and that in turn causes many to care about what YOU'RE interested in and that is their success.

    But I think there is room for the more business-like teachers.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 14, 2013

    I am a very warm and caring teacher, and I enjoy interacting with my students, but I don't get emotional with them. When the end of the school year comes, I say my good-byes and off I go to enjoy summer!

    I'm a lot like you in that respect. It works for me. Apparently, it works for you, too.
     
  5. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    Sometimes, we don't get to see the impact we make.
     
  6. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    Jun 14, 2013

    When I don't get emotionally involved I deal with much less stress and burnout. Yes, there are years I am glad to see them go on, but there are also years I am sad to see them leave. The sadness usually hits me in the fall when I have to train a whole new group of kids!! At the end of the year I am all business because the list of things to do is never ending.
     
  7. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 14, 2013

    Peregrin, it seemed that mid year you sort of made that decision strategically in terms of saying "I don't care whether students choose to invest, I just care whether I teach." It seemed that it was a behavior management decision, but something that you convinced yourself of in order to execute it. Who knows - not saying that's it, but I'm just thinking back to some of those strategic decisions about interacting with the class, and I'm wondering if you've found any connections?

    Also, in terms of you personally not feeling emotionally connected, it could well be that it's just the end of the year and you're spent :)
     
  8. Accountable

    Accountable Companion

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    What EdEd said.

    It seems that you do a lot of comparing yourself to others to see if you're okay. You're okay. Trust that and move on.
     
  9. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I think your type of attitude is completely normal and needed in schools.

    I didn't cry during my first year of teaching. Like you, I was more concerned with preparing my room for the summer. This year, I really bonded with some of my students. When they approached me at the grad ceremony and started crying, I couldn't hold back. If they cried, I cried. Maybe this year just wasn't an "emotional" one for you. That's ok.
     
  10. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    My first year of teaching only a few students even asked me if I was coming back the next year. One told me how happy he was I helped him so much (he was a super-super senior who just needed biology to graduate). That was it. But, like you, I had lots of discipline problems and you have to get that under control before you make connections.
     
  11. marc92647

    marc92647 Rookie

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    I find one way to get the discipline problems under control is to make connections first.
     
  12. chrissy1214phx

    chrissy1214phx Rookie

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    be who you are............ it's all good.
     
  13. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Wait a few years until you see them out in the world. They will remember you and you will see the impact you made. They'll be in college and they will remember your name with a smile. I've had that happen and it is amazingly wonderful.
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't think you can force yourself to be emotionally involved, or just be emotional, but you don't have to. You are not a bad teacher because you're not involved emotionally. People have different personalities, and it's fine. As long you teach the kids, they learn, they know you care about them, that's all that matters.
     
  15. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    You sound a lot like me. :)

    I care about my students, a lot. However, I don't cry on the last day of school, when they graduate, etc. That's not saying I won't miss SOME of them, lol, or that I'm not proud of their accomplishments. I don't think you have to outwardly show emotion to feel these things. I totally understand what you mean about seeing students getting emotional with other teachers. That happens with my partner teacher. After she'd been gone for a couple of days, kids hugged her in the hallway and told her how much they missed her. I was like, WTH? That doesn't happen with me. I think emotional connections are made, just on different levels and with different showings. Hope that makes sense. :confused:

    Just because they don't tell you now, you never know what kind of impact you have made on them. ;)

    Beth
     
  16. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Jun 14, 2013

    Exactly this.

    As a student, I always appreciated my very business-like teachers. I wasn't a huge fan of the "empathetic" teachers as in my experience they tended to pick favorites and treat students differently. School was my job and I took it very seriously, and I appreciated it when the teachers were more interested in teaching than getting to know us. (This is just my personal opinion, I'm certain a lot of students felt differently.)

    After reading your post, Peregrin, I wish I went to go visit my favorite teachers after I graduated. I always just assumed that they actually were all business and didn't need any reassurances. So don't worry, your students DO appreciate you - they just earn an A in your class to show you. :)
     
  17. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    :agreed: I feel exactly the same way.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think you may be misinterpreting the decision I made. Of course I care if students invest, but I feel the best way to get them to do so is to teach kind of like I don't care if they invest (confusing I know, but so is the teenage mind). The methods in which I get them to invest is to have a type of invitational attitude, and not one of forcing students to participate. I could go into more detail about it here, but I think I'll write a more detailed explanation of it on my blog and send you the link later.

    Is it possible that my hands-off attitude diminished some of my relationships with the students? Maybe, but they're mostly directed at the students who don't normally do work, and I found at the end of this year, my highest connections were with those students. As soon as I laid off of them, took an invitational stance, and focused on staying consistent with my classroom management, our relationships improved IMMENSELY. The few kids who did come and say goodbye were some of my most difficult students. One said "Even though I failed your class, you were a good teacher. Thanks." And gave me a hug. Another wrote me a letter in which he thanked me personally and shared with me his insights about the year and thanked me for being such a great teacher. This was a kid I had pulled to the office while he shouted and cursed at me.

    Where I was disappointed with the lack of connection was actually some of my better students. The ones that didn't really need any help, because they had it handled. I wouldn't have had to stand over their shoulders anyway because they would have already gotten things done. I just didn't seem to connect with many of them, but perhaps it's because they had already connected to a lot of the other teachers.

    Also the way my class is set up, at least this year, it's very hard to challenge my more advanced students because I get every 8th grader at once. They're not separated into levels. The lack of challenge probably led them to not be very interested in my class and see it more as busy work... There is a sharp divide in my class between those who didn't work and failed and those who did and passed.

    I'll try to challenge my more advanced kids next year by implementing more differentiation using the curriculum I built this year as a base.

    By the way, as a result of that decision to work more hands-off, my classroom management has been spectacular this year. I had students and teachers telling me that I had far more control over my classroom than teachers who had been teaching at our school for 7 years. Still have tons of room for improvement and I'm making a slew of changes for next year, but I think I did pretty well for my first year management wise.
     
  19. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    That's awesome Peregrin - glad it worked out. I get what you are saying about giving them space to invest, and think that's a relatively advanced approach which is impressive that you pulled it off first year. I'm trying to remember our conversations exactly, but the way you described it just now seems to make more sense to me than it did before. Before it seemed that your focus wasn't so much on giving space and expecting them to meet you in the middle, but on not investing - emotionally or strategically.

    That's also cool that you seemed to connect the most with kids who struggled the most, and it sounds like a testament to your effort. I think you could be right on - kids who were already doing well just may not have invested much because they were already invested in school through other means.

    Definitely looking forward to continued conversations - you definitely add a positive presence to the forum...
     
  20. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    :agreed:

    I can remember one particular teacher when I was in middle school (well, Jr. High lol) who always had students coming to her room and hanging out, talking about how she was their favorite teacher of all time and everything. I started out the year thinking she was nice enough, but she ended up not being that great of a teacher, honestly. I always felt like she needed the "cool" kids to make her feel cool or something. I felt out of place in her room and don't recall one thing I learned from her (unless you count how to get away with skim-reading Moby Dick and walking away with an A).

    On the other hand, I had a teacher in high school who was very strict and serious. Her final consisted of coming into class and looking into microscopes (about 50 of them- NO JOKE) to identify different items and describe where each is found and what its purpose is (various animal and plant tissue, etc.). She had very specific rules for classwork- words in red, definitions in black or blue; always use reinforcements on your pages; etc. She did not make friends with students. Her boundaries were very clear. It seemed all she cared about at the time was her job. Then, the next year I went to college and got an A+ in Plant Biology without ever having to study!! It was a course everyone was complaining about. Man, I can tell you I was singing her praises then!

    The way I see it, there are different ways of showing you care, and my high school Biology teacher showed it by getting us prepared for the future. I wish I had gotten the chance to go back and tell her I figured that out! Sadly, I saw on FB that she passed away last year.
     
  21. Accountable

    Accountable Companion

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    Jun 14, 2013

    Well said.
     
  22. YoungTeacherGuy

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    Jun 14, 2013

    Personally, I'm very emotionally invested in my kiddos. However, that doesn't make me any better (than a teacher who isn't as emotionally involved).

    I think the kids benefit from having teachers with different personalities, teaching styles, etc.

    There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”
    ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
     
  23. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Love this- don't think I've EVER done it for a whole entire day, but it's a good goal! :)
     
  24. Rainbowbird

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    I think that there are years that you get more emotionally involved than others.

    I believe Marzano has also done research showing that the gushier and more emotionally involved teachers don't necessarily get better results. Not that I hold Marzano as the God of Education, but I thought this was worth mentioning.

    Getting too emotionally involved is def. a recipe for eventual burnout, so perhaps you have found a good balance!
     
  25. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    Jun 17, 2013

    Hey Peregrin, is the blog something you are willing to share? I feel like I learn a lot reading your reflections here on the forum and I would love to see more.
     
  26. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I'd love to see that research. The latest research I read last year said that teacher-student relationships were among the top 5 most important factors in measurable student achievement. I'd like to know how Marzano defined "gushy" if that was in fact his findings.
     
  27. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't know about the research, but I think she stated more "emotionally-involved" teachers don't necessarily get better results, not teachers who don't form relationships.

    I think you can form teacher student relationships without being overly emotional.

    While I don't feel I had particularly too much success with it this year (I have plans in place to do better next year), my VP and P both have great relationships with almost all of the students and they are no where near the emotional types. They're more hard-shelled than I am.

    Thinking on that line of thought, the VP and P have the best relationships with the more difficult students, as do I. The top tier students seem to gravitate more towards the warm motherly figures. Maybe different personalities just attract different students.
     
  28. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Hi Kate! I sent you a PM.
     
  29. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    I think you can form a relationship without being overly emotionally involved. I came to teaching after a business career. My P at that time told me during a performance review, that I ran my classes in a very business-like way, but that wasn't a bad thing. I am who I am. The goal is to guide my students to the knowledge and experience they need to succeed. I have my expectations set at the beginning of the year, the consequences are clear, and we go on from there. That said, there have been many students with whom I've had a strong relationship and they still come back to visit me. Be who you are.
     

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