Teachers Have Feelings Too

I sat down for class and was talking with my classmates when my Chinese teacher arrived. I looked up to see probably my most favorite teacher on campus and cried out, “Ooh, Mu Laoshi!” (“Teacher Mu!”) The other teacher in the room and interpreted the incident as me being unhappy that Mu Laoshi was teaching. Mu Laoshi went the rest of the day harping on the fact that I had “dissed” him. He gave handouts to everyone in the class except me. He told a story over lunch about how he didn’t teach a lot during the January Term because someone (me) had complained…But when I finally got to clearing up the matter by talking to my professor, he said “it kinda stings to hear a student doesn’t like you.” It was a reminder that teachers have feelings too. So often students see their teachers/professors as these unreachable entities that are open during office hours. In a great talk by Ken Robinson, he cracks that professors’ bodies are just a means of transport for getting their heads to meetings. But in many ways, it’s true about how we perceive professors. One rarely thinks about how professors react emotionally. At worst, we see professors as assigners of work/oppressors and at best, we see professors as partnering with us academically. Sometimes, professors become good friends too but that usually is secondary.

How should we as students be considering teachers’ emotionally?

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3 thoughts on “Teachers Have Feelings Too”

  1. Funny – your post reminded me of when I was little, and was completely discombobulated whenever I saw my elementary school teachers in the grocery store, or driving down the road, or doing other completely normal activities. It wasn’t that I thought they existed only at the school … but that was the only context in which I knew them, and seeing them outside of that blew my mind.

    I think it’s just important to remember that professors/teachers are people, too, with personalities and lives and interests outside of their academic work.

  2. it still surprises me when i see teachers out of context. i think it’s true of seeing anyone out of context.

    i think it’s good to remember that teachers have feelings and to be tactful, but if they genuinely aren’t good teachers (i realize that wasn’t actually what you said, but that’s what this post made me think about), then they have the right to get offended if someone is talking about them (obviously that is not the correct way to bring the problem to the teacher’s attention), but they also have the responsibility to do something to fix the problem being talked about. after all, it’s their job to be a good teacher, and that should come first, personal feelings afterward.

  3. Hi Ryan – Surprise – a voice out of context for you – your 5th grade SH teacher – Ms. Segal! (Now McCloskey) Somehow I found a link that led to this. I debated whether to contact you for seeing/communicating with a student out of context is strange too! (goes both ways) Anyway, I am so proud of you studying at Middlebury and I am impressed at all you are accomplishing! Keep up the great work and I look forward to reading more postings here and there! Where can I buy your CD?

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