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Labeling A Student - Articles Surfing

Teachers have a great responsibility. They are not only teaching young minds, but they are shaping the future. Who knows if just one student in their class might become the next senator or a George Gershwin who was the king of jazz, men who made life a little better for all of us? The sad thing is that some teachers don't seem to take the time to understand their students and help them to learn, just because some of the children may be difficult.

A young fifteen-year-old boy received excellent grades, but his teacher didn't understand him and was not willing to, either. The teacher felt the young man was disturbing the class and was a troublemaker. Because the teacher was not interested in getting to know his student, he demanded the boy leave school because his presence disturbed the other students. Albert Einstein, a great physicist, quit school because of a teacher.

I was told about a young classmate whom the teacher had labeled 'dummy,' simply because he was slow. The students soon picked up on it and the boy lived with this label until he left school. He didn't really try hard to get good grades because of the stigma that was placed upon him. How would he have turned out if the teacher had labeled him something positive? What if he was labeled as 'one who really tries,' 'one who can create with his hands,' or 'one who is kind to others?' This student might have grown up with a better attitude toward school, wanting to excel in life. He may have become an asset to the community if it weren't for someone demeaning his character.

Teachers should not label their students and degrade them in front of their peers. Once he or she is labeled, it's a stigma that stays with him until something changes.

Name-calling, labeling, and demeaning only hold a student back from a greater future. In my novel, Melinda and the Wild West, I included one of my own experiences as a substitute teacher in which an eight-year-old student had been labeled as a troublemaker by her teacher. The students had listened to the teacher and steered away from her, not wanting to be her friend. This not only made her feel degraded, but she wanted to fight back and she did. She stopped doing schoolwork, refused to be part of the class, and got into a few fights. She seemed angry at the world but after working with her for a while, I soon learned what a sweet and wonderful child she was. She had characteristics that I was impressed with. When she realized that I really cared, she was willing to do her work, just to please me.

When I wrote a note to her mother, telling her what a wonderful child she was, her mother came to me with tears in her eyes as she tried to express her gratitude for this little scribbled note. In turn, I tried to control the tears that stung my eyes, not wanting to show my emotions. I'll never know how this young girl's life turned out, but in my novel I chose a happily-ever-after ending, just because a new teacher cared and made a difference in the girl's life. I wonder how many teachers have made a difference in a student's life simply because they cared?

Long ago, I remember a Student Teacher's praise that taught me to love English. This teacher made a difference in my life, simply because she cared. Teachers should be the first to praise a student's efforts and show they really care. I hope all teachers realize they are in a position to make a difference in someone's life.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
--Emily Dickinson

Copyright 2006

Submitted by:

Linda Weaver Clarke

If you would like to know more about Linda and her novel, her web site is http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com. Linda Weaver Clarke has written a historical/fiction/romance novel, Melinda and the Wild West, published by American Book Publishing. Linda's novel is available at Publishers Direct Bookstore at http://www.pdbookstore.com/comfiles/pages/LindaWeaverClarke.shtml



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