The hole in the boat

2015-05-05 06:00

I gate-crashed a matric lesson. The educator graciously allowed my intrusion. The pupils were more suspicious.

I told them of a conversation I had been a part of the previous day; that they were “not a nice class to teach”.

I was troubled by that. They are matrics after all.

I asked them why? Was it true?

Defences rose rapidly, acknowledgements of guilt had rapid-fire “yes, but” accompaniments.

Much was made of the sins of the educators, but so too of their own. The conversation settled down as individuals spoke closer and closer to the bone.

One pupil’s powerful insight turned the tone of the discussion: “I don’t think we understand the power we have to disrupt, nor the effect that it has.”

We agreed that no future employer would ever be interested in the reason why their educator was to blame for the horrific mark they received in this or that subject. Furthermore, that the better their final marks were, the broader the range of opportunities awaiting them later.

Learning is negatively affected in an unhappy environment and we know that we learn best when we are enjoying both the work and the class.

Both parties are admitting that the dynamic is not working, neither are happy with that fact.

What to do?

I suggested that they take the initiative. That it was not a case of who is more in the right or in the wrong.

Where a relationship is unsettled, address it. Even, or especially, when you are feeling aggrieved. Decide what you need to do to improve things. Don’t make your approach dependant on what the “other” is or isn’t prepared to do.

We have to grow past a “if he won’t do this, then I won’t do that” mind-set.

Yes, I will be speaking with the educators as well.

I was passed a delicious cartoon this morning. Two men sitting at one end of a boat that is clearly sinking remark: “Isn’t it fortunate that the hole isn’t at our end of the boat.”

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