Monday, January 7, 2013

Kids, Don't Apologize for Making Me Do My Job

The other day, my ninth graders were working on a review assignment. Mostly independent, or working through with friends, while I circulated to help out.

These were mostly things we'd learned between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it was a little tricky to remember some of the concepts. Not a problem. That was the point of reviewing.

In more than one class, a student or two got to the fourth or fifth question they'd asked me and prefaced with this:


Sorry to bother me? Sorry I had to weave through rearranged desks to get to them? Sorry they had so many questions?

Well, at least one said it was the last one. "Sorry, I have a lot of questions."

Mind-boggling, from my perspective.

I guess there are teachers who prefer that their students work in silence while the teacher sits at their desk and does their own thing. And okay, I admit, there are days when I'm exhausted and sitting down sounds really nice.

But like I said to my students ... "What are you apologizing for? Why do you think I'm here?"

Helping students is what makes teaching fun. Seeing them piece things together until they understand. It's certainly not about hearing myself lecture from the front of the room.

If you have kids, make sure they know they should never feel like they have to apologize for asking a teacher to do her job.


Anonymous said...

i think you make an excellent point. i have a very inquisitive child - at home. i've had to teach her that it really is okay to ask questions of her teachers at school when she doesn't understand something, especially when they haven't explained something she needs to know in a way that she understands it. years of working with her on this and she's now well-versed at pushing teachers to not just repeat instructions one way, but to reteach certain things that help kids who think differently grasp what they're saying.

A. L. Brock said...

Amen! It never ceases to amaze me when my students apologize for asking for my help. I've come across several teachers in my experience who just can't be bothered with the kids--why even do it in the first place? I love teaching so much, I can't imagine doing it from behind a desk. The teachers who don't interact with the kids are missing out, in my opinion.