Why we need to watch what we say.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Allie B., Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Allie B.

    Allie B. New Member

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    Jul 3, 2009

    Hi. I've been using the resources on this great site for a while now but I had never made a username or used the forums until now. I just want to share what I've learned with other teachers. I'm a teacher (going to be my 3rd year of teaching next year) but this post isn't necessarily about me.

    My post is about my younger sister. She is 20 years old and I'm very proud of her because she does very well in school (going to be a Junior in college in the fall). She's a political science major concentrating in pre-law. She's part of the "Golden Key Society" at her school (as of now in the top 5% of her class) and was in NHS in high school. My sister has always struggled with math. She got mostly A's in every subject through high school but always got B's in math...and she had to WORK for those B's. Now that she's in college she doesn't take math anymore as her major doesn't require it.

    Anyway she had a math teacher when she was in 8th grade who during a parent teacher conference with my mom and my sister (my sister went with my mom and the teacher let her in on the conference) told my mom and my sister my sister would never make it to/in college and should direct her efforts toward a more non-academic field as a career option.

    In high school my sister had a history teacher who loved her, the teacher pushed her to take accelerated classes, wrote her recommendations for various things she was pursuing as well as her college ones, told her she was proud of her and knew she would do well on many occasions and asked her to stay in touch which my sister has.

    Unfortunately it is the middle school teacher's message that has stuck with her. After all of her accomplishments, my sister said to me the other day "I don't know why I work so hard, I'm just a waste of college tuition." When I asked her what she was talking about she explained how she couldn't get what her middle school math teacher said...almost 7 years later...out of her head and she probably wouldn't get into law school or have a good job. I reminded her of the high school teacher and she said sometimes thinking of her helps but still the fact that someone who knew/taught her believed she isn't smart enough makes her doubt herself too. I worry about her too because an "I can't" attitude can be enough to jeopardize everything.

    Anyway, this middle school teacher probably doesn't remember now, years later, that conversation but the student does. We need to watch the things we say. I, as a teacher, have definitely learned from this to watch EVERYTHING that comes out of my mouth. I think I have enough common sense not to say what the teacher said that blatantly but I'm still going to watch anything else I say so nothing can ever be taken the wrong way and can stick to a kid in a negative way!
     
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  3. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jul 3, 2009

    What a great reminder for us all, when my DD when in jr. high the teacher told her she was a ditzy blonde. She never acted like one before that, but afterward she turned into a ditzy blonde, at least for a while. I still can't look that teacher in the face.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jul 3, 2009

    I still remember the music teacher who called me "a tin-eared dumb singer." I'm a trained classical mezzo-soprano now, but it's that comment that hits me any time I try to audition for anything outside of the chorus. Still haven't gotten a solo role because of my nerves.
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jul 3, 2009

    I had quite a few teachers when I was a kid say stuff like that to me.

    Much of what motivated me through college was my desire to prove them wrong. And I did.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 3, 2009

    When your sister graduates (and she will), she should send a graduation announcement to that negative middle school teacher. ;)
     
  7. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    Jul 3, 2009

    Thank you for sharing. Lately, I have thought alot about something the teacher I student taught for said about me. She said I would never be a good enough teacher to teach higher than preschool. I am now in my 3rd year of teaching middle school. I survived what the head administrator called the worst class at our school. Amazing how a few words of negativity will stay with us.
     
  8. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    Jul 3, 2009

    I had a guidance counselor in high school who said I'd never see college with a 3.0 GPA. I did go on to college, and I graduated college with a 3.34 GPA--much higher than my high school one. If anything, her words made me work harder to prove that I could do better. ;)
     
  9. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    Jul 3, 2009

    My son went through school that way. His older sister got good grades and was quiet, he is noisy and not good grades. He always had teachers tell him or through their actions suggest that he was a bad student and a loser. He didn't go to college except to take an EMT class and he will become an EMT this month.
    It's not just our words but our attitude and actions that convey our message!
     
  10. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jul 3, 2009

    I had a college professor who said to a cooperating teacher I was working for that I would not make it as a teacher because of my lisp. I was profoundly embarrassed-the cooperating teacher was horrified-and that professor ended up leaving the college after she made a mess of the college's education department. Not until she made my life hell through the two years I was at the college. (it was a small, private college.)
    I agree with Sarge- her treatment towards me made me more determined to make it in the education world. I still talk with a lisp-much less noticeable now-and I secretly hope she sees that I now teach professional development classes that college!;)
     
  11. capfortune

    capfortune Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2009

    I remember very well one particular maths teacher from high school who was very sarcastic. It got to the stage where I would never ask him a question because of his sarcasm. I've used this experience throughtout my whole teaching career. I've never used sarcasm as a weapon against student and I have always been very supportive when students have approached me when they have been unsure of any aspect of the work we have been doing.
     
  12. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 3, 2009

    On the opposite end, I had a math teacher who refused to give up on me. I had struggled with math all through late elementary and early middle school. She had me come and sit with her every day for tutoring. When my parents came in for a conference about my low D average, they asked what more could be done to help. She said something to the effect of, "Give her time. She's smart enough. Her brain just needs a little time to grow into this." I never forgot that. Even though I continued to struggle with math, all through high school and college, I never gave up. I knew I was smart enough to get it if I was just patient with myself.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 4, 2009

    Nice story, bandnerdtx. Many of the students I have worked with in the past couple of years have heard for years how "bad" and "disrespectful" they are and how they really have "no future". By the time the reached grade 8, they believed it--and acted accordingly. I put in hours and hours trying to convince them otherwise and (((crosses fingers))) hopefully I got through. One thanked me at the end of the year for never giving up on him, and they all know that I'll be checking up on them all through high school to be sure that they graduate.

    Whether we like it or not, we have a profound influence on the young lives we touch; it's a heavy responsibility and one we can't take lightly.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009
  14. Groovy

    Groovy Companion

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    Jul 4, 2009

    People will forget what you say. They will forget what you do. They will never forget how you made them feel.

    We are to be encouragers.
     
  15. Irma

    Irma Companion

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    Jul 4, 2009

    Actions speak louder than words although words sting.

    I had a highschool teacher who made fun of the way I wore my hair and it's ironic because while he made fun of how I was different, I knew he lived an alternative lifestyle and always wondered why he would be the one cutting people down. Must have been unhappy.
     
  16. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    Jul 4, 2009

    I truly believe that if we let a child know that we love and care about them-if we can get their heart-we can help them through any struggles they may have.

    In Kindergarten, we had show and tell everyday. I loved it and was very excited each day to show my teacher and my class one of my treasures that I would bring from home. About half way through the year, my teacher told the class that we would have assigned days on which we could bring things to share and she looked at me, in front of the class, and said because YOU bring something EVERY day. I was crushed!!!!!!!!!! I still remember how that made me feel and I am 37 now. I made a promise to myself that I would never cut a child down like that. Maybe I bugged my teacher b/c I did bring something each day, but she could have presented the new way to do Show and Tell in a much more positive way!!!!
     
  17. reverie

    reverie Companion

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    This is not quite the same, but when my sister was in high school the guidance counselor told her she couldn't go to the college she wanted because she couldn't afford it. Excuse me? Since when does she know anything about our family's income? My family was certainly not rich, but not poor either. Needless to say, my sister went to that college, graduated, and now does what she loves for a living.
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Thank you for sharing your story.
     
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jul 5, 2009

    Towards the end of this school year, I told one of my most brilliant students how much I loved grading his work and that he would always have me for a reference in the future. He paused for a moment and let out a low whistle. Nobody had ever said anything like this to him. WHAT? He has the writing skill of a graduate student! True, he has several issues that make learning online an ideal situation for him, but I would save contacting him for the end of my work day because it would be the best conversation I would have in my virtual classroom. How could he have never been told how smart and thoughtful he is?

    Seeing this thread, I'm glad I reminded him on a constant basis how good a student he is. Someone needs to tell him!
     
  20. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Isn't in amazing how much words can influence us? We all have stories about how this person or that said something that somehow impressed on us our supposed failings and we lived up to them or defied them. And the negative comments seem to be the ones that stick rather than the positive ones.

    I don't remember any exact words, but I do remember the actions of a few of my teachers. My third grade teacher was the biggest bucket dipper I have ever met. She belittled us and yelled and called us irresponsible. I remember her dumping my desk on the floor every day in front of the class and making me stay in from recess and clean it up because I was so disorganized. That was the worst year of my life. Conversely, my sixth grade teacher was a gift from heaven. She was alway patient and full of enthusiasm. She found ways to praise everyone but was never phony about it, always genuine. I remember both of these women and hold myself to the standards they set: never be anything like the first and strive to be the second.
     
  21. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Jul 6, 2009

    It is amazing how many of us share that or a similar experience. Fortunately, it provides a reminder and helps us to be better. Hugs!
     

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